Texas Oranges History

orange on tree

Did you know that the orange begun its evolution 20 million years ago in the South China Sea? At the time, they were nothing like the oranges we are familiar with today. For thousands of years, they were allowed to grow wild and were most likely hard, inedible fruits. Over time, and travel, the orange not only became edible but a precious commodity as trade developed. It is thought that on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, Christopher Columbus landed in the Grand Canary Island where he purchased, among other things, orange seeds. While establishing a colony in 1493, he set out orchards in Hispaniola. As a result, the gardens of citrus were established in Haiti and San Salvadore. In 1513, oranges were introduced to Florida by Ponce De Leon, to California in 1769, and in the 1880’s to Texas by early Spanish missionaries. The first commercial shipment of oranges was in 1921.

There are very few fruits that are as sensitive to climate variations as citrus. South Texas’ sub-tropical climate is absolutely perfect for growing Texas Oranges. The days are filled with sunshine while the nights offer warm tropical breezes coming off the Gulf of Mexico. Texas citrus growers carefully maintain crop quality through successful irrigation techniques, growing conditions and extensive research. Sandy loam soil, found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, also provides all of the necessary elements that the tree roots crave for strength and endurance. Texas oranges are tree-ripened and hand-picked to ensure the best quality possible. After picking, area shippers wash, inspect, grade and hand-pack the fruit. It’s then shipped to supermarkets across the United States and Canada.