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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Orange Picking Season

Don't these lemons look just like oranges. I have no pictures of oranges.

I do love this time of year in Valencia, especially as we live within a forest of orange trees. We have had a period of rain that has brought the orange trees into full bloom, and the whole countryside looks just delicious. I'm sure you have heard of Valencian oranges, everyone on the planet has, and they have also heard about our competitor, Seville oranges.

First we are enchanted by orange blossom time in March/April when the smell is the best perfume there is, and that is followed by a whole lot of work on the part of the farmers for several months. The farmers really don't mind if you pick one or two while out walking, but if you go with shopping bags then they can rely on an ancient law that will suport them should they decide to shoot you. When taking into account the painstaking work to bring their orchards to market, I wouldn't blame them.

Anyway, I went orange picking today to assist the owners. It is hard work, made the more difficult by the fact that I had injured my shoulder on Friday. However, it is wonderful to be surrounded by all these gold coloured, well, orange coloured things that are there for the taking. Even our own trees are loaded this year. Last year was a bad year for a harvest, but this year could not be more perfect. Unfortunately, for the farmers that translates into lower prices at market because everybody has such a bumper crop.

I hope I don't see a repeat of the year when farmers brought their truck fulls of oranges back from the market and dumped them in the fields and sprayed them with poison because prices offered were so low.

When I came to Spain in 1999 I mentioned to my friends, the orange tree owners, without knowing that they had fields, that I was looking forward to trying my hand at picking. So, they took me to their fields with what appeared to be about five thousand trees, and said, "so, pick!"

My custom had always been to eat one orange a week, but here, during the season, dessert is always fruit, including mandarins, and every other type of this fruit. We stuff ourselves to the point that no-one should be vitamin C deficient.

This may not be the official definition of Heaven, but it is very close to the ideal thing.

See you out in the orange fields!

Copyright (c) 2011 Eugene Carmichae