The Rio Grande Valley is the Premier Texas Citrus Region
Image by rcbodden via Flickr
The vast majority of citrus fruit grown in Texas is produced in the Rio Grande Valley. This part of the state offers Texas citrus growers a climate amenable to producing their crops and allows for the production of a wide variety of fruit. Anyone who wants to understand more about Texas citrus crops must know where the Rio Grande Valley is located, when citrus fruit is produced there, and the diversity oranges and grapefruits it yields.
The Rio Grande Valley, known simply to locals as “the Valley” is found in the southernmost part of Texas along the Rio Grande river, the natural boundary separating Mexico from the United States. Texas citrus fruit thrives in this region specifically because of its warm climate. Interestingly, even though the region is known as the Rio Grande Valley, it is not a valley at all, but really more of a flood-plain or delta-type landscape composed of bodies of water that branch off from the Rio Grande.
The Texas citrus crop produced in the Rio Grande Valley begins maturing in early October, and Navel oranges can be seen on store shelves as early as this point in time. With different varieties of oranges and grapefruits available both throughout and beyond the growing season, Texas citrus fruit from the Rio Grande Valley is sold well into the month of May. The last oranges produced there will actually mature sometime in January.
As for what kinds of fruit come out of the region, grapefruits and oranges are grown here and shipped to many locations far and wide. Rio Grande Valley grapefruits, in particular, are known for high quality due to their deep red pulp, low-acidity, and signature sweetness. The Rio Red variety is the most commonly-produced of them all, and the Ruby Red grapefruit has been grown in the Rio Grande Valley for many years. Oranges from this region are common, too. Smaller varieties of tangerines popular during the holidays, like the Clementine, are grown here as well.
When it comes to Texas citrus crops, being aware of the Rio Grande Valley's location, the time period during which its crop produces, and the types of fruit that come from it all yield a better understanding of this region's significance. Were it not for the Rio Grande Valley and its unique topography and climate, Texas citrus crops would barely merit consideration among the crop volumes of other citrus-growing states. It is, however, because of the Valley's high yields that Texas is the nation's third-largest citrus producer.