A Brief History of the Honeybell Orange
As one of the rarest citrus fruits around, the history of the Honeybell Orange can be difficult to nail down. A simple Internet search will tell you that the now famous fruit was introduced in 1931, but its creator remains a mystery. The fact that several different fruit growers have taken credit for the Honeybell lets us know how important the specialty fruit is. But it doesn't tell us why.
According to official state records, the Honeybell Orange was not discovered on a private orchard or farm, but rather at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Horticulture Research Station in Orlando. After perfecting the new variety, it was released to growers in 1931; some of who went on to take credit for the new fruit variety. Why did they lie? Because the Honeybell orange was unlike anything anyone had ever seen or tasted before!
The cross between a Duncan Grapefruit and a Darcy Tangerine, this hybrid fruit was instantly identifiable from its bell-shaped stem end, for which it was named. But it was the taste of the new tangelo (a portmanteau word for a tangerine and grapefruit mix) that really got people excited. With the size of the grapefruit and the juiciness of a tangerine, the Honeybell holds more liquid than any other orange-related variety. How much? Just two medium-sized Honeybells yield half a glass of juice! That's about as much as four ordinary oranges!
Because they are extremely sensitive to even slight variations in temperature, Honeybell Oranges can only be grown in certain regions of the country. Even today, most of the Honeybell oranges trees in America grow along a section of the Indian River in Florida. They also have an extremely short harvest period that lasts but a single month–January. Not to mention the fact that their fruit must be handpicked or clipped. For all of these reasons, most fruit growers in Florida do not plant Honeybell oranges, which means that the annual crop–even if it's a bumper one– is generally quite small.
Where to find them
If you do not reside in a citrus-producing state, your odds of finding Honeybell Oranges at your local supermarket are about as good as your odds of winning the lottery. Fortunately, you can order Honeybells directly from commercial fruit growers on the Internet. These private orchards generally make a fairly healthy profit selling specialty fruits like Honeybells to fruit lover outside of Florida. In other words, you should expect to pay several times more than you would for a bag of Navel oranges at your local market.
It is also extremely important that you order them a few weeks, even months before they are harvested in Late December or early January. The good news is that most orchards that sell Honeybells online take orders throughout the year, so you can get in line at any time.
To reserve your tray of Honeybells today, please visit pittmandavis.com.