Do you know where Spain is on the map? I want you to find a map, do you have one? If you look in the Eastern hemisphere next to the Atlantic Ocean and above the Mediterranean Sea, you will be able to find Spain. Spain is located near Portugal, under France. Have you found it?
Segovia is a small city in northern Spain. The easiest way to find it is to find Madrid first. Madrid is the capital city of Spain. Each country in Europe has its own capital, just like our country does. Madrid is located in the middle of Spain. Once you find that, look north. Segovia should not be too far away.
Segovia is where I live! It is a beautiful city. It is one of nine cities which makes up the region Castilla Leon. The weather here is cold and dry for the most part, but since I have been living here, we have received the most rain Spain has ever experienced in its history. Can you believe that?
A puppet show in the park
Even though the rain has made it difficult to walk around, it has helped the produce and vegetation grow. The rest of this Field Note is going to tell you a little bit about one specific crop that is popular in southern Spain. Do you guys have any guesses? I will give you a hint: It grows on trees and has a very sweet smell, which covers the gardens and parks.
What does this creature or plant look like? Where does it live?
Did you guess oranges? Yes! Oranges are famous here. Oranges grow on trees all around Segovia. This is why there is such a sweet smell that covers the city. Just close your eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. Can you smell them?
The orange trees are just like any other fruit tree. The specific species has a special name: citrus aurantium. They are found in warm and sometimes wet climates.
The oranges, however, are unlike the oranges we are used to in the United States. How do you think an orange should taste? These oranges have a very bitter taste. They reminded me of a lemon. Have you ever eaten an orange that tasted like a lemon? Or better yet, have you ever eaten a lemon? If so, then you know exactly how these oranges taste.
These oranges are not as easy to peel as the oranges we are used to back home. The skin is tough! Can you imagine trying to peel off this skin? It might break your knife or fingernail!
How did I feel when I first saw it?
I first saw this wonderful plant while walking around. The trees reminded me of Georgia. Have any of you ever seen the orange trees in Georgia? Have you ever seen the TV commercial for orange juice that shows lines and lines of orange trees? If so, that is exactly what I was seeing.
I was so excited because it reminded me of home. The sm
ell also created a sweet aroma around the city. Each breath I took, I was able to taste in my mouth. It was like I was eating instead of breathing.
Of course I had to try one, especially after my tour guide told me about their bitter taste. My friend and I got one off the tree and luckily when it hit the ground it broke open otherwise I would not have known how to open it.
As I slurped the juice out, I made a funny face because it was so sour. Have you ever eaten a sour piece of candy and your face makes a funny expression? That is what mine was doing. The taste reminded me of a lemon. It was very sour, but I got to say I tasted one! Orange Trees Everywhere!!!
How does it use its environment to survive?
These trees use the warm and wet climate to survive. The temperatures are perfect for these oranges to grow all year long. They do not have to worry about the snow or freezing temperatures, because they grow in southern Spain where it is always warm.
What are these oranges used for?
The culture is very proud of this product and has made great use out of it. These bitter oranges are used to make jam and jellies. My mama here loves orange jam. I tasted it. It was so sour I was not able to eat the rest of my bread; I had to give it to her to finish.
The peel is used to flavor liquor and the flower is used during massages. Can you imagine getting a massage with flowers? That would be very interesting, don’t you think?
The other more popular use of this orange is in seafood. The juice is used to season the fish in the South. It is also used as a preservative. It is very popular in Mexico, as well as here.
What can harm this plant? Am I worried about it?
The only thing that can harm this plant is serve weather, which does not come around that often. It is so abundant that I believe it will still be growing a long time after I leave here.
After reading this, do you have a little better understanding about these orange trees? Even though they have a very sweet smell, do not let this deceive you. The taste is very different from the smell! I don’t know about you, but for me I would rather just sit there in the parks and smell, and let my mind imagine the taste, instead of actually tasting them again.
The taste is sour