Sun Kissed

I was raised in Orange County California. I was long gone by the time it became known as The OC. For the most part, the orange groves that dominated the area were long gone before I even left. That was 1985. I can’t imagine there being a single orange tree left in this concrete county. Four car garages, ten lane highways, and drive thru Gaps & Starbucks scour this oasis nowadays.

In the United Snakes, I’ve noticed that ‘From Concentrate’, and ‘Not From Concentrate’ orange juices have begun to taste the same. I will even go so near to say that the supposed high end OJ’s like Odwalla and Naked have all been coaxed into hiding truths and cutting tasty corners for profit and the like. It’s not fresh squeezed if it’s been sitting in plastic and/or glass for however long.

Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I had a satisfying, mouth watering orange in the US. Dry and Mealy come to mind. All Peel, No Deal. Wherever I go, there they are. Bionically neon orange in color. Giant in size. Way too expensive. Crap to eat and probably bad for you in the end. Just an observation. Not the oranges I grew up on. Certainly not the oranges worth writing about.

The best orange juice in my town of Santa Cruz comes from Taqueria Vallarta of all places. It’s the best orange juice because you get 24oz of fresh squeezed juice for something like three bucks. I guess that’s a good deal. Maybe it ain’t. Regardless, some young Mexican fires up a stainless juicer and actually squeezes oranges into a cup. My cup. It takes like ten oranges to make the 24 ounces.

The canopied Nissan for this coastal colony sells 25 oranges for $1.60US. You can hear him on the loudspeaker a mile away. He wears a cowboy hat even though he is full blown indian. His oranges are more greenish/brown than they are orange. None of them are giant in size. None have stickers claiming organic. A film of dirt covers every single one. Each orange is earth temp. Pesticides.

I have been here a month and have cut into over 100 of this gentleman’s oranges. Every orange, and I mean every single one, is just a gusher of honest nectar. All equally as sweet despite how they may appear to my threatened eye. Cut in half, they are as orange as a setting sun. Three little oranges can make a 12 ounce glass no problemo. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was…