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Orange World

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by Gayle Beveridge (subscribe)
Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer. Check out her short stories and nano fiction at www.ficklefiction.com/
Published September 8th 2014
Citrus Facts, Somes Laughs and a Serenade
big orange, citrus, orange world,
Orange World
We opened the door to an infectious smile and a booming, "Hello, I'm Mario, what's your name?" This is how we entered Orange World. Mario remembered the names of each and every one on our tour. How does he do it?

Our Orange World experience began with a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. We were served by Hamish, a friendly Scotsman who turned 75 the day we visited. We dipped ice-cream sticks to taste marmalades made by Mario's wife and orange honey harvested from hives in the orchard. These were included in the cost of our reasonably priced tour of this 50 acre citrus orchard. Orange World is on the Silver City Highway in Mourquong, a few minutes from Mildura. Just look for the big orange.

The introductions were complete when we met our tour guide and tractor train driver, Brian. Before we boarded, Brian demonstrated machinery sorting oranges by size and explained how the pickers' bag works. Then he grabbed a guitar and serenaded us with his Magic Mildura song. That was unexpected. During the song Mario appeared, handed out mandarins and gestured comically at Brian. These men are not just tour operators, they are showmen.

Buddha's hand, citrus
Buddha's hand
The tractor train, an orange one of course, at first skirted the perimeter of the orchard where display trees are planted. Signs labelled more varieties of citrus than I had imagined to exist. Like the Buddha's Hand, a fruit segmented into sections resembling fingers, each covered by a thick gnarly skin. The size of Shaddock, the largest of the citrus fruit was indeed a surprise.

We travelled at a leisurely pace through groves of trees laden with navel oranges, the winter crop. There were mandarin trees grafted onto orange tree trunks and a grove of avocado trees. We drove past a picker hard at work, snipping at mandarin stems which have to be individually cut by secateurs, not picked from the trees like oranges.

tractor, train, orange
The orange tractor train
Brian's narration answered so much. How long does it take a good picker to fill a crate of oranges or of mandarins? How much do they get for a crate? Why are the ladders that strange shape? What are the three P's of fertilisation? (I bet you can guess at least two of these.)

We bought a nifty little orange peeler that removes peels as two perfect cups. We didn't climb the lookout tower - I don't like heights. I took a photo of my husband sitting between two laughing avocados on the bench seat outside. He took a photo of me inside the giant orange peel.

Orange World might not look like much from the outside but it is a whole lot of fun. It is open daily, except Christmas and New Year and the tractor train tours run two to three times a day. More details can be found on the website: www.orangeworldmildura.com.au

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Why? More than a tour, be serenaded and have a laugh.
When: Daily except Christmas and New Year
Phone: 03 5023 5197
Where: Silver City Highway, Mourquong via Buronga NSW
Your Comment
Hello Gayle, who would have thought you could make a business like that out of an orange orchard? Thanks for the lovely tour you described. If I'm ever down that way I'll be on the look out. Regards, Tony
by Tony Dyer (score: 2|408) 994 days ago
Thanks for reading it Tony. We might not have gone there ourselves but the lady at the caravan park recommended it. "it looks dodgy," she said, "but it's not." It was so much more fun than we had anticipated.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|5676) 994 days ago
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