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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

California vs Florida Oranges, What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between California and Florida oranges? Is there a difference at all? A navel orange from Florida has to be the same as a navel from California. Right? Well, even though many of the fruits are genetically identical, the climate changes the fruit far more than you’d expect.

California Oranges

A California orange grove in the shadow of a snowy mountain.

California’s climate is very arid with very low yearly rainfall. The days are hot and sunny, and the nights are dry and cool. This weather is ideal for raising oranges with thick, beautiful peels. The dry air keeps superficial blemishes from forming on the peels, making them attractive to supermarket shoppers. Having a thicker peel also aids in keeping them fresh for extended periods. They are ideal for brick and mortar stores, because they last much longer on store shelves.

Florida Oranges

A Florida Orange grove.

The oranges that grow in Florida do so in a hotter, wetter climate. As a result, these oranges are much juicier and sweeter. In fact, the majority of Florida’s oranges are used for juicing. The peels are usually thinner, and the oranges are easier to eat out of hand. This makes whole Florida oranges ideal for direct shipping rather than supermarket sales. Since our oranges are shipped straight from the grove to your door, there’s plenty of time to enjoy them.  Florida oranges typically last 2-3 weeks when refrigerated. 

California vs. Florida rainfall.


If you’re looking for picture perfect fruit with a flawless peel, then you should choose California Oranges.  If you are looking for the sweetest, juiciest fruit available, choose Florida Oranges.

Of course, as Florida orange growers we’re probably biased, but we think that taste is the most important characteristics of great citrus.

Licensed Images

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  1. Biased is right. Our California oranges are absolutely the best. And, we do not dye our fruit!

    1. I'm standing in the Publix fruit department full of dyed Sunkist oranges. Frustrating not finding a decent Florida grown orange to save my life..

  2. The taste is not bad but small and to hard to peel. Sorry but I'll take a Florida orange any day

  3. One thing nobody's mentioned - orange flavor. Whenever I cut open a FL orange, I get an immediate orange aroma that almost fills the air. When I cut open a CA orange, hardly any. They're both sweet, the FL one being much more juicy. The CA orange just doesn't taste much like an orange, it's almost all fructose. I'll take a FL orange with its full, orange flavor anytime over a CA one. And I'm in NY, never lived in FL nor CA.

  4. Get freakin real ...cali fruit is the best

  5. Get freakin real ...cali fruit is the best

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  7. I am from Florida, but I now live in Utah and can only get California citrus. California's really are prettier and not bad, but, I'll take a Florida orange any day over California's. Florida's are just so much juicier and sweeter. Taste and juiciness are what I prefer over looks.

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  9. Cali oranges...especially when you can get them fresh...are the best! Juicy, sweet, large, aromatic...I was just there and picked some from a neighbors tree...my friend and I were both savoring them. I was looking online about how to get more, which is how I came upon this site! I'm sure Florida ones are good too, but being a Cali Girl, I'm a bit biased :)

  10. We may order a box from each state, to be fair, and do a taste test :)

  11. I am from Virginia and absolutely love oranges. I have bought both California and Florida oranges and I must say that Florida oranges are the best hands down!! California oranges have thick peels small fruit inside, dry and not very sweet. Florida oranges are juicy and super sweet. When shopping for oranges if they say California I leave them on the shelf.

  12. I've lived in both California and Florida, it's a bit more complicated than that. For one thing, whether an orange is labelled as Californian or Floridian has a lot to do with the loading docks used, often more so than the state it was produced in. I've known truckers that would run citrus to specific states to unload and then reload it so it could be labelled as being from that state. As such, if you're not getting it from the farmer's field, you usually have no idea where that orange is from.

    A note on rainfall: if you look at the map of CA above, that green bit in southern California where the rainfall is similar to FL is near where a lot of the oranges are grown, and regardless, they're all still fed water from the LA Aqueduct. Additionally, California oranges are grown west of the pacific coast mountains where it is significantly more humid than most of SoCal. What I'm getting at here is that the climate isn't actually that different.

    Final point: I have tasted oranges from market stalls on farmer's properties in both states. Both are far better than you'll ever get in a grocery store. Farmers usually sell their worst crops to retailers and specific cultivars that are easier to peel, etc. and the very worst are exported to other states where people aren't close enough to the fresh product to tell the difference. Good, fresh CA oranges are usually a little bit harder to peel, a little more juicy, and a little more flavorful than a good, fresh FL orange. The same factors that create cultivars of Navel and Valencia oranges which are easier to peel makes them less juicy and makes the pith more bitter. I prefer CA oranges by a small margin, but what I'm getting out here in Utah are all crap no matter where they say they're from.

  13. The best oranges are the nave late in Valencia, Spain.

  14. The best California oranges go to japan,I guess they pay top dollar for them. If you go to porterville ca. Ask for 88s off the belt from a packing house. California had a very bad drought 2015-16 so a lot farmers let their trees dry up between porterville and Bakersfield, and put in pistachios.

  15. don't matter i live in Alaska and it really don't matter were they come from really hard to find any Orange that is great tasting . it's not ripe enough or it is to ripe same with bananas and such looks great at the store 3 days later it is aging fast and bad.....

  16. I just told a group of people that california's navel oranges are the best. And I absolutely do not care for florida's oranges. I like perfect!!!!!

  17. I just told a group of people that california's navel oranges are the best. And I absolutely do not care for florida's oranges. I like perfect!!!!!