At The Farm

The Burgeson Family Farm

The Burgeson Family Farm

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The Burgeson Family Farm, brims with satsuma orange trees laden so heavy with fruit, their branches bow to the ground. It would be hard to believe that this land was actually barren when the family bought the property 20 years ago. Today, it is a citrus orchard, teeming with satsuma oranges. Although a difficult and delicate variety of orange to grow, the Burgesons have cultivated this variety to perfection. Their oranges grow beautifully uniform, with a smooth bright orange skin, lacking the usual puckered and wrinkled skin of poorer quality satsuma. Theirs have been nurtured and tended to by their own passion for growing healthy wonderful fruit. Adrian shows us one of the tools he uses to test their fruit prior to picking. It’s a refractometer, and looks like a wand with a fat thermometer at the tip. The glass window is not for testing temperature, but the sugar content of the orange. He squeezes a drop of orange onto the meter, and peeking through the lens, we can see the marker jump to 12, “that’s a good number”, he tells us. They pick their oranges when they reach a sweetness of between 12 and 13 on the refractometer, which reflects the sugar content of the orange. This follows the guidelines of the master growers in Japan who originally cultivated this variety. By holding out, and delaying picking until the sweetness peaks, the oranges are sweeter, and more robust with flavor. Dayna and her husband also remind us that the tart sweetness will keep longer if kept in cool temperatures. The importance of timing from being plucked from the tree to being peeled and eaten, should happen within a couple of weeks to keep its bouquet of flavors. Grocery store varieties would never fit the profile for freshness by the Burgesons definition. Industrial raised oranges, may sit for a longer period of time, and they are picked when they are still green, resulting in lower sugar content. A satsuma must meet some pretty tough criteria to be a Burgesons satsumas. If you have not tasted a Burgeson Farm satsuma, then you have not really tasted a Satsuma. Their meter speaks the truth, and the taste speaks for itself. The satsuma oranges we sampled was as sweet as, well, confection!

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