We lived in the middle of an orange grove
July 3, 2006
Parathion wasn’t used much. It’s deadly stuff, and the grove was specifically posted for “don’t even set foot in here” for about two weeks after they spray it. I have no idea who they got to drive the sprayers, or how they were dressed. Most of the time, what they sprayed was oil-and-sulfur, which would control scale, and also (I realized years later, after getting a whiff of nostalgia from a bag of sulfur) gave the whole grove a slightly sulfurous smell. I just grew up with it, and never noticed when I was young. One thing that you would notice, is when the citrus trees go into bloom. That was fabulous.
The grove was mostly oranges (valencias and pineapples) but my ggf had planted a “fancy fruit row” which was better than anything I’ve ever seen in the store, anywhere. I’m not entirely sure what they were. Sometimes I see familiar-looking fruit in a store, but when I buy it (rarely, nowadays) I am always disappointed. My ggf, or the previous owner of the grove, had planted some Duncan grapefruit, which were also for personal use on account of (begin whiny voice) they’ve got see-eeds (end whiny voice) so nobody would buy them, so no stores would sell them. Ugh. People are idiots. Yes, their taste was (and is) superior.
About a half-mile from our house, out near the school bus stop, were some avocados. Again, personal use, because there were only a few. My dad would pick the ones he could reach. The grove pickers would climb the tree, pick them, and toss them down to a catcher wearing gloves. Grove-picking looked like a pretty hard life, and tree-ripened avocados are a treat, and probably good for you too. One problem was that buzzards also like avocados, and they would take a few pecks out of quite a few fruit, leaving it not at all fit for human consumption.