‘My lemons go all over the world’: why lemons are important to the Central Valley

Agriculture

TULARE COUNTY, California (KGPE) – Lemon season lasts a long time in the Central Valley. That’s because unlike oranges, lemon trees are picked several times a year.

Lemons are measured with a ring during harvest: lemons larger than the ring are picked while smaller lemons are left on the tree to grow and harvest later.

“We’ll go through and pick lemons as many as four times,” said Nick Hill, who grows lemons at Green Leaf Farms near Dinuba. “Starting ourselves early October and we may be picking into April.”

Lemons are closely tied to California’s history as they were grown at missions.

“They tried to have lemons or citrus grown in every port so they could get the vitamin C and take it out with them when they went back out on the ocean,” said Hill.

Unlike oranges, lemons will ripen off the tree making them easier to travel and transport.

“Usually when we pick lemons they’re not completely yellow and in the beginning of the year they’re mostly green we will put them in storage until they color up a little bit.”

Hill says Central Valley lemons are such high quality that they demand a premium in other countries.

“My lemons go all over the world. They go to Europe, Korea, Japan. They go everywhere.”

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