These Sky Valley Heirloom Navel Oranges are THE best-tasting oranges we’ve ever had, and from what we hear, many of you feel the same way.
What makes these oranges so amazing? They grow on trees that were planted back in the 30s, with a priority on taste instead of being grown for mass production. We get them from a ranch down in California called Sky Valley, which is situated on just the right spot on a hill to capture as much of the sunlight as these fruits can soak up – that’s why they even taste different from other heirloom navels.
Sky Valley’s Ranch consists of over 280 acres of citrus fruits, including more than 200 acres of what are called “Old Line Washington Navel Oranges.” In the 1930s, this was the primary type of navel orange planted in California and gave California its reputation for the best-tasting citrus in the world. These classic navel oranges were planted using sour orange root stock, commonly used in the first half of the 20th century but seldom used anymore. For the large-scale commercial grower, this root stock and variety are no longer desirable as they do not produce as quickly or as heavily as the newer stocks. It is, however, the root stock and the age of the trees that gives Sky Valley its unique flavor profile and allows us to call its fruit “heirlooms”.
What is an heirloom navel orange?
Heirloom refers to the variety – fruits and veggies all have many varieties, and if the seed or tree is over 50 years old, they’re considered to be an heirloom. They’re often much tastier, although a bit harder to come by because they aren’t ideal for mass production. This means heirloom varieties are usually grown by small-scale farmers or gardeners with more of an interest in their flavour. So if you find them, you’re in for a treat!
These classic California Navel Oranges are available from January through the first half of April.
Since we love Sky Valley oranges so much – we decided to turn them into juice! Introducing: Lepp’s Orange Juice! Fresh-pressed here at the market each morning and available in 16oz (500ml) and 32oz (1L). Wondering how we fresh press our juice? Watch the video here!