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:

Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
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

More recent articles:

Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 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.