Where Are All the Orange Trees?

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner 21498

Where Are All the Orange Trees?


One of the most vivid and cherished memories I have of living in SouthernOrange Blossum and Fruit California in the late 1980’s, is driving to work in the early morning coolness and smelling the heavenly aroma of orange blossoms. My route took me by field after field of orange trees, and when they were in bloom, it was nothing shy of intoxicating. There must have been thousands of trees, all coming into the pollination stage at once. Oh, to be a bee in those parts when that happened!

Not too long ago, we flew out to Southern California to visit our daughter who lives only about 30 minutes from where we lived all those years ago. We took a drive up to look around and see how things had changed. The base where Charlie was stationed – Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro – is no more. Virtually all of the buildings have been demolished, and only a few abandoned ones still stand. The runway is growing up in places, and the big hangars stand empty where once there was the bustling of Marines working on fighter jets.

One pleasant surprise, we found our old base housing complex, and the building in which we lived was still standing. We squeezed through the fence and went inside for a closer look. All the walls had been kicked or knocked in, and there wasn’t much left of the little home we once knew. We took the address plate which was affixed above the doorway…a little piece of the past to take with us. It was so strange trying to get our bearings with so many buildings now gone.

California Orange GrovesAnd on our way back, we dropped down to the road I used to travel so frequently – the one with the orange groves. It was disappointing to find housing and businesses where all those trees used to grow. I was awash with a sudden sadness…nothing remained as it was…nothing. For some reason I thought the orange groves would still be there, and that maybe I would get to catch a whiff of those wonderful blossoms once again. But it wasn’t to be.

I wondered how they compensated for all those now absent orange trees. Did they just plant them somewhere else? I guess a citrus tree has a useful lifespan, and when that expires, they nix the tree…but I thought they replaced them.

I guess the land was worth more as housing and commercial; that would be its highest and best use, I suppose. Just business. Nothing against the orange groves, I guess. But driving by those fields in the early morning coolness…the smell of orange blossoms in the air…

I don’t know how you can put a price on that.    


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Sheila Newton   
Sheila Newton Team 
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices -
C. Dan Joyner, Realtors
864-225-1205 (direct)
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Cynthia Larsen
Safe Haven Realty - Cotati, CA
Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA

I remember the Orange trees down there as well. The last time I was in Orange County I couldn't get my bearings because of all the development.

Jan 29, 2011 02:01 PM #1
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Sheila,

Your comment about "I guess the land was worth more as housing and commercial" pretty much sums it up.

I miss the trees too, the ones we had all over the place, I've lived here in OC all my life and the growth is unbelieveable. I think with Walt Disney came to the OC in Anaheim it was just a matter of time.

Jan 29, 2011 02:09 PM #2
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Growing up in Florida, orange trees and grapefruit trees were a part of life.   We had lots of citrus trees in our back yard.

When you drove to Orlando before Disney, it was miles of Orange Trees as far as you could see in every direction.  The Citrus Tower in Clermont  was a top tourist attraction.  Sadly, there are no more Orange trees to be seen from the Tower today - that part of Florida has literally been paved over.

However, Florida still has a bazillion Orange Trees.   Go farther South - down past Lake Wales, or over toward Indian River.   Grove after grove after grove.

Florida Oranges will always taste better than the re-constituted Swill from Brazil!

Jan 29, 2011 02:29 PM #3
Shawna Green
Keller Williams Realty-Fayetteville - Fayetteville, NC
The key to your real estate needs!

Shelia, I understand the sadness of there not being any orange trees...that is a memory you cherish and you were hoping to relive it.  I love the smell or oranges and lemon so I would have been in heaven!

Jan 30, 2011 02:18 AM #4
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

Hi Cynthia...That's exactly how I felt...couldn't get my bearings.

Hi Lynda...I think you are right; after Disneyland, it was a matter of time.

Hi Fred...It is unfortunate indeed that there are no more orange trees to be seen from The Citrus Tower in Clermont, and I agree...Florida oranges are tops! And thanks for the link!

Thanks, Shawna...and you WOULD have been in heaven; it was so wonderful!


Jan 30, 2011 02:40 PM #5
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