Our Visit To An Orange Grove

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Wow – this is my first post for 2012! I hope you find it worth reading! ha! ha! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been enjoying my kids’ winter break from school helping my husband with projects around the house. We painted a bathroom, took off the old yucky mirror and added a new framed one. We resealed all the tile floors downstairs. And, we added a new hanging light over our dinner table. Of course, when I say “we” I suppose I mean “the hubby,” but I was clearly directing all the work and purchases! Needless to say, my husband was glad to be back at work, doing his real job and away from my endless “to-do” list!

We did steal away some fun moments. We’ve had exceptionally warm and gorgeous weather here in San Diego, so I did have to let my grumbling worker run off to the beach to go lobster hunting with his buddy. Not much was found, but it was a beautiful morning to be at the beach. A hike here, a brunch there, a round of father-son golf and parties galore.

For New Year’s Eve we spent the day roaming around Valley Center, CA. A friend of ours invited us orange picking on his land there. He told us we could pick as many oranges as we wanted.

If you remember our pomegranate adventure, you know that we sure can pick a WHOLE lot of fruit!

This part of San Diego has evolved a lot over the years. It’s under an hour drive from the coast, and filled with farms, including acres of avocado groves and orange groves.

The oranges we picked were Valencia oranges. They are the juicing oranges. The kids were enjoying sampling their loot, with orange juice dripping from their smiling faces.

Most of the trees were leftover from a former orange grove. Since then, they have been growing completely organically and largely ignored. And, they were covered with oranges.

Did you know that you can leave the Valencia oranges on the tree for up to two years before picking them? Many of the large oranges we picked were there from last season. The skin thins out as the fruit continues to fill up with sweet juice. The harder fruits were left on the tree to be picked at a later excursion.

Needless to say, we picked a van load full of oranges!

Also located in Valley Center is Bates Nut Farm. It’s a popular site for school field trips. Even though it was late December, fall finally came to this area, and the trees were turning glorious colors.

Bates is a fun place to visit all year long, but it is especially popular in the fall. Their grounds have breath taking views and they offer picnic tables for families to just hang out and enjoy a lunch outdoors.

The farm animals there offer the kids more amusement and distraction, too.

I avoided their country store because I knew that their delicious chocolates and fudge would somehow make their way home with me!!

Our orange-filled day ended with a little bit of BB gun shooting – not at Bates, but back on private property! A few rotten oranges did sacrifice themselves in the target shooting. Luckily, most of the kids were bad shots and missed the oranges completely!

Now, what to do with all the oranges?

I can’t wait to show you!

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5 Responses to Our Visit To An Orange Grove

  1. Ann at #

    It sounds like you had a lovely, but busy winter break! I had NO idea you lived in San Diego – before we retired to Florida, Honey Bunny and I lived on Coronado!

    As for the Oranges – this year, I think I'm going to bite the bullet and make marmalade….but I have to shore up my courage first! That's the first recipe that comes to mind!

  2. What a fun day! That is a whole lot of oranges! Look forward to seeing what yummy dishes you come up with using them!

  3. nice post – have a great 2012

  4. Such a fun trip…wow that is a lot of oranges, excited to see what you do with them :)

  5. Maggie at #

    Oh my gosh! I love going fruit picking, but that is somewhat infrequent here in Montana. To go in January, you are a lucky lady! Yum! I want to sink my teeth into an orange NOW.

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