A Citrus Family Holiday

Share this post

So you made it through the holidays (Happy New Year, by the way!) and now you’re wondering what it was all about. Why did cousin Barry wear a kilt and rugby socks to your grandmother’s holiday dinner, and why did everyone feel uncomfortable when Aunt Clarisse spilled sherry on your father and called him a “meat-loafer” before giving him a kit of bath salts and essential oils? Are these people even related to you? Now that things have calmed down a bit, you can start to contemplate the expansive meanings of your family tree. Where is your family from? How did they get to wherever you are? What’s the story behind the story?

If you think your family is varied and far-flung, then imagine what being part of the citrus family is like. It would make the best of us stand up and wildly exclaim: “Oh my  pamplemousse!”

The citrus we know and love today is the result of years of crossbreeding. And like many family trees, the true lineage can’t really be traced back exactly. Even the common orange is most likely the descendant of unrecognizable pomelos and mandarins from long ago.

The Navel Orange
Our modern navel orange is said to have originated in the early 1800s in Bahia, Brazil, from a mutation of an orange tree in a monastery. Other accounts say that the modern navel is descended from a tree that’s closer to a Portuguese variety of orange grown around the same time. Regardless, the navel orange we enjoy today is unique in that it actually grows a second fruit opposite its stem as a twin. It remains underdeveloped, but from the outside, it looks like a human navel—hence the name.

Strangely enough the navel orange (with its twin) is seedless, and therefore reproduction of trees relies on grafting cuttings from other trees onto new citrus stock. (You may remember from past newsletters that bananas are also replanted from cuttings as well—it’s fascinating to me that these two staple fruits are basically sterile if not for human interaction.)

So this week, when biting into that juicy navel orange during your break, you may hear yourself exclaim with satisfaction at the rejuvenating taste of citrus: “Now who’s your daddy, orange?” Remember that we may not really know, and that’s OK.

Remember to visit our mix page find out your fruit mix this week.

Enjoy & Be Fruitful!

—Chris Mittelstaedt, chris@fruitguys.com

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
Food:
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019
Food:
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.