Inside the Dangerous Life of an Orange

Last week I unveiled my fascination with oranges. This article — about the orange harvest in California — is less gloomy but not exactly hopeful. We learn that each tree holds 1,100 oranges, that they’re picked by hand 16 at a time by men climbing up and down ladders, earning not by the hour but by the bin, that they’re processed by women earning minimum wage, that they’re classified “choice” or “premium,” the former sold in American stores and ones without blemishes shipped to Asia, that rising labor costs are encouraging orange growers to invest in technology that will eliminate jobs, all to make sure that the oranges we buy remain as cheap as they are sweet and juicy. (Also noteworthy: This piece is written in the first-person plural — as in, from the point of view of the oranges themselves.)


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