Orange Tree, Very Pretty

As your trusted investment adviser, I really must insist that you review your position in regard to orange juice futures. There are some signs on the horizon of a possible shift in the world’s supply/demand balance of oranges.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But first I’d like to establish my connection to oranges and orange juice. Consider these facts:

A company that eventually evolved into Tropicana was founded in 1947 by Anthony T. Rossi on the west coast of Florida. Rossi later moved his company to east Bradenton, where Tropicana grew into a huge, successful business that went public, and then was acquired by a series of major drinks companies. Amazing Fact No. 1: I grew up in Bradenton, from my third year of elementary school at Jessie P. Miller, through my graduation from Manatee High School. Coincidence?

Amazing Fact No. 2: As a member of the track team at Walker Junior High School in Bradenton, one of my most vivid memories was a particular smell  as we drove to and from track meets at other schools. No, not the smell of sweaty track and field clothing, but the beautiful scent of orange blossoms that enveloped our bus as we drove through acres and acres of orange groves.

In 1998, Tropicana was bought by PepsiCo, and its worldwide head office was moved to Chicago, Illinois. Amazing Fact No. 3: I was born in Chicago. Coincidence?

These days, here in Daglan in southwest France, my wife and I both enjoy starting the day over a small glass of OJ with breakfast. Amazing Fact No. 4: Usually, the orange juice we drink is the Tropicana brand, which is readily available in French supermarkets.

Now we come to the basis of my comments about the supply/demand balance of oranges: It’s our personal orange tree, growing in a large pot just outside our front door. Here it is:

Orange tree

Orange Tree, Very Pretty, and the Orange Flower Smells Sweet…

I bought the tree this spring at Fleurs d’Europe, a large nursery in Sarlat. At the time, it was covered with beautiful white flowers, and the scent was amazing. We enjoyed smelling the flowers whenever we passed the tree as we went into and out of the house.

Eventually, the flowers started dropping off, and tiny green balls — baby oranges — started growing almost everywhere there had been a flower. Amazing! But then most of them, hardly much bigger than a pea, and certainly no bigger than a marble, began falling off the tree and onto the front steps.

However, a few have persevered, and at last count there were six oranges still on the tree and developing nicely. Here’s a close-up of one of them, about the size of a large walnut:

Orange

Will this eventually develop into an edible orange?

Not bad, eh? Of course, I can’t say if any of the fruit now on the tree will reach full-size and turn from green to orange. But I suppose it’s possible. So for now, just keep an eye on your position in orange juice futures.

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