How come oranges don’t grow in North Carolina any more?

And why are there no avocado ranches north of San Jose?


How come oranges don’t grow in North Carolina any more?

And why are there no avocado ranches north of San Jose?

“All all I know is we used to be able to grow oranges as far north as North Carolina and avocados up to Redding CA.’” says reader John the 1st.

“Now orange production is limited to southern Florida and you can’t find an avocado ranch north of San Jose despite them being at their highest price ever.”


How come? Because it’s getting colder . .  and the plants know it.

See these Plant Hardiness Zone maps from the United States Dept of Agriculture (USDA):


19 thoughts on “How come oranges don’t grow in North Carolina any more?”

  1. When I moved to Florida in 1980 there were orange groves all over the place. You would even find them in more northern central Florida. While some were destroyed to allow for construction, most were destroyed by severe freezes. The 1980’s devastated the citrus industry. Here is a link that talks a little about the freezes and the Ocala citrus industry. The article doesn’t mention another severe winter which was 1989. That year part of Florida experienced a white Christmas.

    • Dan, is correct, I first heard of this south bound Citris crop in the 90s, from a guy with a radio show who was from Fla. , same show I first Robert on as a guest. I read a native story once that said the Everglades froze over with ice 10 yrs. in a row during Maunder min. Talk about grow zones moving south!-ouch. Build those greenhouses and can that food.

      • Squatterman: What was the name of the native story? Where can I find that book or whatever it was?

        • Sorry, I’ve read and watched so much of the stuff over the yrs I couldn’t find it again myself. Link to link to link, I could ave been on flint knapping or DNA history or everglades-just don’t know. If I come across it I will post it. I do remember reading it on line about 4 or 5 yrs ago.

    • Oddly enough, in 2012 the map was changed. My current zip code in Oregon was changed from 5a to 6b.

      Local gardeners and nurseries advise choosing plants hardy to zones 4 or 5.

    • I was 5 years old that Christmas my family left Pennsylvania to Ft Stewart Georgia to visit my aunt. Christmas eve I belive it snowed 4 inches of snow. For those of you who don’t know where Ft. Stewart is its about 45 minutes Southwest of Savannah Georgia. It is very probable then that the Jacksonville region saw snow as Jacksonville Florida is at most 2 hours away. Doubt they had 4 inches on the ground but I bet a nasty coating made its way south.

  2. The basis of leftism is ENVY. And hence the demand for equality everywhere. From this comes the hatred, of the West, of Whites, of men, of anything that denies ‘equality’

    Where the productive man dreams of the things he might create if only left alone by his fellows, the ‘Progressive’ dreams of the world he could create if only the lives and property of his fellows were at his disposal.

    • Of the seven deadly sins, one is envy that Cecil mentions. Another is greed. People act as if envy is such a bad thing. So is greed. So that effectively covers the left and the right. Not sure what Cecil’s comment had anything to do with the story but unnecessary complaining about the left.

  3. a lot more oranges wont be anywhere due to the imported yellows disease
    unless youre happy to accept GMO ones
    or you could buy imported aussie ones
    presently almost all ours are going to usa
    so now we are buyig pulp into aus to supply our own juice requirements
    stupid on a stick- globalism once again!

  4. There is one avacado you can grow in San Jose reliably, the Bacon. It has superior cold tolerance.

    A neighbor had one for 40? years or so. It is now gone (roots got under the driveway ) but I was growing a start from it. It got leaf burn from a few frosts, but was hanging in there until cut down “by accident” when someone “helped” while I was on a long contract in Florida…

    Unfortunately, the commercial market is not geared toward it, but toward the Hass that is not cold tolerant.

    Citrus limit was about Redding when I was s kid (north end Central Valley. We hsd 2 about 70 miles north of Sacramento . )

    But juice sugar was low. So very tart. Not enough heat to do well. This was during the cold 60s snd 70s. Near as I can tell, range has not expanded north with the supposed “warming” and it is not easy to grow avocados in San Jose…

    If you want citrus snd avocadoes, go south.

  5. I use to live in smog free Orange County. Now it’s orange free Smog County. How much of the loss is due to orange groves being turned into housing tracts?

  6. My mother used to tell me that the St Johns River froze during her childhood in the 1930’s. She lived along the river North of Jacksonville. But, I remember citrus being grown all over North and Central Florida in the 1960’s and 1970’s. So there has been climate variability during the last 100 years.

  7. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida in the 1960’s and have lived in the area ever since. I am a big history buff and researched the area history from the 1800s on. Towns all over north Florida are named for citrus as they grew citrus; Orange Park, Mandarin, Citrus, and on and on. I have old maps showing the plantations were these and other tropical crops were grown. They even had banana and mango groves. More recently, the 1970s-80s, I often traveled past a 226-foot tall tourist attraction aptly named “Citrus Tower” just north of Orlando along the turnpike and US 27. Here, as far as the eye could see, rolling hills covered by orange groves. This quickly ended following several years of hard freezes culminating in the devastating 1987 freeze. The groves were replaced by pine forests and are now being replaced by housing developments. This is the story of the march southward of Florida’s orange groves. Total it is very rare to see a large grove north of Orlando. A common sense observation into Florida’s past would lead even the most hardened “warmist” to understand that at least in Florida, the tropical/subtropical growing zone has been systematically moving south.

  8. People who FARM know. Our grape and apple crops didn’t mature this year. Black Berry’s came in 5 weeks late. Now there isn’t enough heat & time this late in the season for them to sweeten up.

    People with whom I often speak make all kinds of comments about climate warming. I have learned they are wedded to this theology and dismiss anything but what agrees with their own uneducated and often deceived views.

    Some people are incapable of critical thinking.

  9. Well when I lived in Orange County CA (1989-1992) there were still at least some orange groves in Riverside County and the rural parts of San Diego County. Knew people who grew lemons in their backyards too.

    I also lived in Alpine (San Diego County) CA from 2001-2004 and there was a wonderful orange grower on the east side of town (little place called Frosty Acres, because occasionally they will get a little snow and are at about 3000 feet above sea level) who grew organic oranges… the best I ever ate, tree ripened. The fact the climate was dry most of the time meant they had to irrigate but the oranges seemed a lot sweeter than Florida oranges.

    I also used to go out into the back country and could find places where they had fruit stands that sold blood oranges, which are marvelous. The last time I was there for a visit… Frosty Acres was still there and still had oranges they grew themselves.

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