Are you favorite oranges from California or Florida? Do you even notice the difference?
Our Orange Blossom honey comes from the California oranges, which surprises some folk since it’s well known how many of our bees head to the Florida farm in the winter. But those bees are hard at work in the panhandle making that magical Tupelo – not working the orange groves.
It’s lesser known, but still a fact, that many of our bees head to California as well. They are on a mission to help with almond pollination – but this long-standing gig for our bees has also allowed us to start bringing back the delicious Orange Blossom honey that’s shown up in our store the past couple months.
So, what’s the difference between an orange from sunny Florida and an orange from sunny California?
It’s a passionate topic of debate among the orange connoisseur crowd, and there’s no right answer. Oranges from California and oranges from Florida do have their differences, but you might not always notice.
Like anything that grows from the earth, the surrounding environment plays a big part in the final product. While California and Florida share some similarities – for instance, both are much warmer usually than our home here in Benzie County – they have many differences, and those differences lead to a slightly different orange.
The California Orange vs. The Florida Orange
The California orange is smaller than a Florida orange, and it tends to be “cleaner” and more orange than the Florida. The generally cooler night time temperatures in California orange growing territory bring out the deep orange color that isn’t as noticeable in Florida, where the nights are much warmer. The color doesn’t impact the taste, however. In very warm climates, oranges get ripe without even really turning that famous orange color.
The California orange itself is “cleaner” because of a generally less volatile weather pattern – the afternoon thunderstorms Florida is famous for can do a number on the skin, but that’s just cosmetic. It’s still orange-y goodness on the inside.
California also produces a more acidic, citrus-y orange than Florida, which makes sweeter oranges. This is due to the weather, once again.
The biggest difference between the two in terms of honey is the surrounding forage territory.
In California, the groves tend to be more isolated. So the bees that are working the orange blooms are more limited in their option. In Florida, they have many more surrounding flowers and plants. As you probably know, no honey is “pure”. Unless you can manage to contain all the bees in a sealed lab, with the plant you want, and make sure nothing else enters ever, your honey will be made from several different plants.
Both California orange honey and Florida orange honey are predominantly made from the Orange Blossom, but since the other pollination options are limited in California, the California orange blossom variety is more “pure” orange flavor.
Our Orange Blossom Honey
The bottom line is that neither is necessarily superior to the other – we aren’t here to trash Florida orange blossom honey, and maybe we’ll offer that in the future as well. But this year, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get California orange blossom on the shelves. Due to the years of drought in the state, it’s been difficult to find this honey anywhere recently. We took the opportunity to grab some of the very best Orange Blossom honey in California and bottled it up under the Sleeping Bear Farms label to bring to you – and we hope you enjoy!