Orange you glad we have oranges?
Can you imagine Florida without orange groves? Did you know that oranges are not native to the Western Hemisphere? Christopher Columbus brought the first oranges to the western hemisphere in 1493. It is believed that Ponce de Leon most likely planted the first orange trees on land which he called Pascua Florida in 1513 to honor Spain’s Easter celebration, “Feast of Flowers”. By 1539 more orange trees were planted by another Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto. According to John McPhee’s book titled, Oranges, Spanish law actually required each sailor to carry one hundred orange seeds with them. Later, ships were required to carry young orange trees on board to plant in the New World.
The first orange trees were planted in California much later around 1800. Gentleman farmers from the 18th and 19th centuries, including George Washington (1732-1799) at Mount Vernon in Virginia and George Macculloch (1775-1858) at Macculloch Hall in New Jersey, explored ways to grow oranges in personal greenhouses as they studied and developed new techniques in early agriculture.
Join us on Facebook Live to hear Dianna Hutts Aston’s An Orange in January and Oranges by Zack Rogow to learn more about this important fruit during National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.
For more information about the citrus industry in the United States, visit: https://oralhistorycollection.omeka.net/exhibits/show/1989-citrus-freeze/citrushistory1565
For more information about George Washington’s greenhouse at Mount Vernon, visit: https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/location/greenhouse/
Age / Level: 1, Primary, Elementary