Where is the source for most oranges intended for consumer purchase in grocery stores?
Oranges are grown and processed worldwide, but thrive in hotter and tropical environments rather than colder and northern areas. For this reason, oranges are mainly grown in the Southern United States, Mexico, and Brazil; many oranges in grocery stores across the U.S. are California or Florida oranges, with oranges from other countries appearing for variety, luxury purchase, or when U.S. grown oranges are out of season. Brazil is the largest producer of oranges worldwide, and provides the bulk of the world's orange juice and concentrates.
Most oranges are not sold in their home state or country, but are processed and shipped to other states and countries for sale.
ERIC LARSON (Executive Director, San Diego County Farm Bureau): ...so as we’ve created this ability to move fruits and vegetables around the world, we’ve done it because we have the transportation to do it and we don’t want to wait for the season. We want to eat fruits and vegetables out of season, which means they have to come from another hemisphere to meet those demands.
(These Days on KPBS, kpbs.org)
The ability to pack and ship fruit with little damage and loss of flavor has allowed orange production to become a worldwide business, allowing higher prices and sales than local Farmer's Markets or local grocery stores. For this reason, up to ninety percent of oranges sold in stores do not originate from that area, and many do not originate from the same country. Buying locally is becoming increasingly popular, but cannot provide oranges year-round, and so the practice of growing oranges in one country and selling them in another is not likely to change.