Find a local pick your own farm here!

Looking for citrus Picking Tips in 2024?  Scroll down this page and  follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.  If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page.  Read our disclosure policy to learn more. 

What's in season in May 2024, and other timely information:

Notes for May 2024: Spring is here! Strawberry season is here.  It started in February in Florida, Texas, southern California and a few other areas of the Deep South; then March along the Gulf coast, April in the Deep South and west coast, May through much of the country, and June in northern areas. Blueberries are next, about a month later. Of course, cool weather crops, like Rhubarb, asparagus and greens should be available almost everywhere. Check your area's crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates.

Are carpenter bees boring holes into your house, shed or barn? There is a simple non-toxic solution!

You may also be interested in finding a local:

We also have home canning, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page.

NEW! Start your own tomato, pepper, squash and other vegetable plants from seed - It's easy and costs about 50 cents per plant.
Also see our Master list of tomato varieties,  with descriptions, details and links to ordering the seedss.

Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now.  They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update.  Since 2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!

Picking Citrus Fruit: Tips and Tricks to Getting the Best oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins and tangerines

Citrus fruitsCitrus  fruit, like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins and tangerines are easy to pick and use, if you are lucky enough to live in the semi-tropical climates where they grow. 

In the US, that means southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Texas, Florida and sometimes in southern Louisiana and Mississippi.  Citrus are fat-free, low sodium, and cholesterol-free.

Citrus Picking tips:

Most modern orange, grapefruit, mandarin or tangerine orchards have dwarf trees that are very close to the ground - my 3 year old finds it easy to pick citrus! (photo above and below)

Select  The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination.  It all depends on the variety.  And color is not really how you tell when a citrus fruit is ripe. The key will be to ask the farmer which are ripe. 

  1.  Look for  firm, bruise-free skin

  2. Look for a heavy, solid feel to the fruit. heavier and more solid means juicier!

  3. The dimples should have small, fine dimples on the peels

  4. Watch out for soft, tender spots or wrinkled, folds in the rind.

  5. The smell of the the fruit should be a strong, sweet citrusy smell.

The farmer/orchardist will also know what characteristics to look for in the particular varieties that he is growing.


When are citrus ripe - how to tell!

Oranges on treeCitrus ripen from the outside of the tree towards the center, so the citrus out the outside of the tree will ripen first.  Once they are picked, they stop ripening. Picking citrus directly from a tree is easy.. abut  uniform orange color is not necessarily an indicator of a delicious, juicy orange.  Notice the photo at right.

 The best way to know if a citrus fruit is ripe is the smell and taste.  Try one and you will know what to look for in appearance and smell with the others.

When are Citrus in season?

Keep in mind that these are typical, general dates.  It can vary considerably upon weather, location, orchard and variety.

  • Navel oranges - November to June.

  • Valencia oranges - March to October.

  • Cara Cara oranges December to May.

  • Clementine oranges  -October to December

  • Satsuma - October to January.

  • Pineapple sweet oranges - November to February.

More TipsPicking fruit

  • Once picked, don't throw the citrus into the baskets, place them in gently, or they will bruise and go bad more quickly.
  • Don't wash citrus until just before using to prevent spoilage.
  • Keep citrus cool after picking to increase shelf life.  A cool basement is ideal, but the fruit/vegetable drawer of a refrigerator will work, too. Kept cool, fresh-picked citrus will generally keep weeks, but it DOES depend on the variety.  Red and Yellow Delicious citrus do not keep well, for example; but Rome, do! High humidity helps to to keep the citrus from shriveling, but don't let them get actually wet. A wet towel placed nearby helps to keep the humidity up. A refrigerator is fine for small quantities of citrus. Boxed citrus need to be kept in a cool, dark spot where they won't freeze.
    Prevent contact between citrus stored for the winter by wrapping them individually in sheets of newspaper. The easiest way to do this is to unfold a section of newspaper all the way and tear it into quarters. Then stack the wrapped citrus
  • Nutrition and miscellaneous facts: One-half cup of citrus is only 42 calories. Citrus contain no cholesterol or fat and are also low in calories. T Citrus are high in dietary fiber, Vitamin A and niacin. They contain iron and other trace minerals and are a fair source of Vitamin C. 
  • Citrus are ranked No. 1 in Vitamin C and antioxidant activity compared with many other commercially available fruits and vegetables. That means a serving of citrus has more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, cancer and heart disease.

Storing Citrus

In a refrigerator, citrus can last 2 or3 weeks.. Keep them in a bag that has holes for airflow, ie. they have a few holes in them . The airflow is important to prevent buildup of moisture or condensation which causes mold growth.

At room temperature, Citrus will keep for about a week.

Recipes and Preserving Citrus

Canning and freezing citrus - fully illustrated, with step-by-step instructions

Marmalades, Jellies, and Other Recipes, illustrated with step by step instructions

Citrus weights and measures

The weight of the citrus fruit, and the number of fruit per bushel varies depending on the size of the fruit , their moisture content and variety.  But, in general:

  • 1 bushel = 48-72 oranges or 32-48 grapefruit.

  • 3/4 bushel = 36-54 oranges or 24-36 grapefruit

  • 1/2 bushel = 24-36 oranges or 16-24 grapefruit

Citrus Festivals

Here is a list of Florida citrus festivals  If you know of any more, please write me! Feedback