The Harvest of the Month for February is Oranges. We are so very lucky to live in Ojai and to be surrounded by so much delicious citrus. We use the term Orange rather loosely to describe many different citrus types including sweet oranges, sour oranges, Seville, Mandarin and Tangerine. The most popular orange is the Naval, but Cara Cara and Bloods oranges are being seen on menus and at local grocery stores more regularly. With so many varieties available, it is fun to compare taste, texture, and color. Some oranges are seedless, and some are easier to peel. There is also a difference in sweetness and texture depending on variety, soil, temperature, and moisture. We probably all remember eating orange slices as a young child after school, at soccer games, and in our lunches. Seriously, who can resist putting a big wedge in their mouth and making a giant orange smile to make their friends laugh? Oranges are wonderful snacks as they are high in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium, and are a good source of fiber . They are also very portable and easy to grab and go. California and Florida are the big producers domestically, but around the world, Brazil and China also grow huge amount of oranges. It is said that only 20% of the oranges get eaten as fresh fruit. The other 80% goes to juice, preserves, and extracts. Did you know that 3 types of essential oils are taken from oranges? The oil from the rind goes into flavorings, the oil from leaves is used for perfume, and the blossoms also are used for their sweet scent. Orange oil is a great natural cleaning product and used in furniture polish and as a degreaser. Oranges are delicious and are very versatile for cooking and baking. Cranberry-Orange scones are delicious and pair well with a hot cup of tea on a cool morning. Orange chicken is one of my all time favorite sweet and savory dishes. Oranges on top of spinach salads are so fresh and tasty, add some avocado and you will not be disappointed. If you need recipe ideas, just search for “orange recipes” online and you find a ton of great ideas! We will be serving oranges at OUSD schools during snack time and featuring oranges on our menu all month long. Hope you enjoy!