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TEMPLE ORANGES FOR A 100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

On February 4th, 2018, my Aunt Clarence celebrated her 100th birthday in Roswell, NM. She outlived my mother, and her two brothers who were all younger than her. She and my

Branches with the fruits of the oranges trees

mother would tell stories about my grandfather, Roscoe Fry, bringing home Temple Oranges around Christmas time back in the 1920s and 30s. They both thought Temple Oranges were the best oranges they had ever tasted.

A Temple Orange is a mix between a tangerine and an orange. It has a rough deep orange easy to peal skin with a very sweet, juicy, intense orange flavor with some tartness. These oranges were used in Oriental Temples for decorations because of their deep color.

In 2008, my wife found a Temple Orange tree at Walmart here in Rockport, TX. Every other year we have gone to have Christmas with my Aunt in Roswell for the past 45 years. Over these past 7 years I have taken Temple Oranges off that tree to my Aunt at Christmas. However, they were usually too tart because they ripen to their best and sweetest flavor around February 1st. The Raccoons have usually discovered them by that time.

This year was different. Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport on August 25, 2017. The Temple Orange tree was almost 12 feet tall. It and the Myers Lemon tree next to it were blown over at a 45 degree angle leaning South onto the garden fence leaving the roots exposed. The Temple Orange had a two foot split in it lower trunk without breaking. It and the Myers Lemon tree lived and kept most of their fruit. The Mexican Lime tree, 25 feet away, was blown North at a 45 degree angle exposing its roots. It was 20 feet tall and wide. Three fourths of it had to be cut down but the rest is alive and has limes from all the rain. The Rio Red Grapefruit trees, and Clementine and Blood Orange trees lost most or all of their fruit and leaves without damage to the trees.

We have seen very few Raccoons since the hurricane. We also fenced the area in the garden where the Temple Orange was leaning over. So, on the February 1st, we sent 8 Temple Oranges to my Aunt Clarence for her 100th Birthday along with a box of chocolates and some turnip greens. I understand from her daughter that the oranges and turnips did not last even close to a week. Yes, my Aunt Clarence ate all the oranges. I doubt that there is any chocolate candy left!

-Herman Green

3/8/2018    Garden Journals