Quote of the Day

A single citrus tree can be turned into a carnival, with lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, kumquats, and oranges all ripening on its branches at the same time.
-John McPhee, Oranges

Recommended: John McPhee’s Oranges


Oranges was a joy to read. It is always a pleasure to read a book about something you truly love, and few people love anything as much as I love oranges. My favorite California Christmas tradition, if you can call it that, is to sit at my parents’ dining room table and each oranges until the fruit bowl is empty or my cuticles sting with acid burns.

Oranges follows a narrative I find very compelling and seek out in many books; the majesty of nature, making a fruit as perfect as the orange; the way we’ve spliced and diced oranges into our very own American Frankenstein Fruit, grafting different citrus trees together for sweeter flesh, sturdier roots, and the proper orange-y appearance; and the industry that has sprung up around it, reliant on an american worship of orange juice while trying to crush out any variability between commercial batches. The collision of nature, science, and industry always causes me to reflect on how inescapably human we are and what a weird and wonderful world we have created for ourselves. Outside of a orange concentrate plant McPhee writes,

we walked beside a rushing stream, which might have been a trout stream in Vermont, full of boulders, pools, eddies, and tumbling cascades. ‘That water is coming from the evaporator,’ Griffin said. ‘It was inside oranges a few minutes ago.’