Top Ten Things Not to Do at The First Trainload of Oranges to Leave Los Angles in 1886

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This week marks the 135th anniversary of the first trainload of oranges to leave Los Angles for Eastern markets in 1886. The town of LA only had 11,000 inhabitants when the oranges were shipped. Mostly farmers and workers on farms tending the massive orchards around the city. We can’t pass up the opportunity to go west again when LA was young. This time we need to take a look at the agricultural side of things. As usual, we need to take our list of things not to do so that we don’t cause a problem in the time continuum. Let’s all get in James’s Oldsmobile. I call shotgun.

James Wainwright’s 1956 Oldsmobile from Eternal Road – The final stop. You should read this one on Amazon. Just click the car to go there. Hurry back.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at The First Trainload of Oranges to Leave Los Angles in 1886

by John W. Howell Β© 2021

10 If you go, do not show your “Save the Colorado River” shirt. If you do, at best, you’ll get a quizzical look. At worst, one of the farmers will ask you what it means. (You see, Manawydan in the 1880s irrigation was mostly tapped from the hills. It wasn’t until 1941 that the Colorado River Viaduct routed water to LA from the Parker Dam 250 miles away. So right now, there are no arguments about water from the river. That farmer looks like he likes you.)

9 If you go, do not ask Tiny, the WWF champ, if you can have an orange. If you do, at best, Tiny won’t be listening. At worst, Tiny will think you are trying to steal oranges. (Tiny was told by the bosses to be on the lookout for orange rustlers, Manfried. He was told to show no mercy. This, coupled with Tiny’s sociopath tendencies, means you will experience Tiny’s famous drop hold. Yeah, that’s a drop like in fall for ten feet. Maybe the concrete isn’t the best landing spot.)

8 If you go, do not sing Carol King’s song about the Earth moving under your feet. If you do, at best, everyone will be watching the oranges being loaded. At worst, the local sheriff will wonder what you are trying to accomplish. (Earthquakes have been recorded in the Los Angles area as early as 1812 in the Ventura area. These guys don’t take moving Earth Lightly, Manley. I think the Sheriff wants to talk to you.)

7 If you go, do not mention frozen or orange juice in a can. If you do, at best, you’ll be ignored. At worst, you’ll be overheard by a farmer. (Now you’ve done it, Mannie. Orange juice was first canned in the 1920s as a way to take up the slack posed by too much fruit being grown. As fresh fruit ages, its taste begins to deteriorate. It was thought by canning it, the abundant stocks could be saved and sold. You have to hope the guy you told is the one who came up with the idea. Otherwise, you have altered the time continuum.)

6. If you go, do not ask for a screwdriver. If you do, at best, you’ll get a tool. At worst, you will be asked to explain what you mean. (Given that Los Angles has plenty of oranges, Manny it seems natural that a little vodka could be added. Unfortunately for you, such a drink was not invented until the late 40s. Two stories exist about that invention. The first story is that American oil workers living in Saudi Arabia would add vodka to their orange juice and stir it with a screwdriver since spoons were in short supply. The second story is U.S. Marines came up with the drink and named it. In any case, you are way ahead of your time.)

5 If you go, do not suggest making orange sherbet. If you do, at best, no one will hear you. At worst, the entire crew will enthusiastically ask you to do it. (The use of ice and salt to enhance the making of frozen deserts came to America in the 18th century, Manolito. Orange sherbet is a natural. Get some ice, salt, milk, sugar, vanilla, and fresh orange juice, and you have it made. Of course, there is the arm breaking cranking of the ice cream machine. We’ll see you later.)

4 If you go, do not offer to go with the oranges to New York City. If you do, at best, you’ll be laughed out of the county. At worst, someone will let you get in a car. (I hope you have plenty of provisions Mansfield. It will take over three weeks for a freight train to make the trip. An express passenger trip can be made in 84 hours via the new Transcontinental line.)

3 If you go, do not ask the farmers about Florida oranges. If you do, at best, the tractor noise will drown out your question. At worse, the biggest farmer will hear you. (Since the beginning of time, Manuelo, there has been a rivalry between Florida and California. You now will see how the big Californian Farmer feels about his oranges.)

2 If you go, do not take bets on how many pounds of oranges will be produced in 2021. If you do, at best, everyone will think you have lost your head. At worst, you’ll have no way to pay the bet since it will be 135 years in the future. (Be that as it may, Manvil. If someone guessed 25 billion pounds, they are a winner. I think you should give everyone their money back.)

1 If you go, do not argue with anyone about the original source of the sweet orange. If you do, at best, they won’t care. At worst, you will argue with someone who wants to win. (The original source for the sweet orange was China, Manzo. They were brought to America in the 1500s by the Spanish explorers. You need to go and offer that guy who is sharpening his knife an apology since that was his position. Yeah, maybe you ought to let him coll off a while. Here have an orange.)

88 comments

  1. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Well, after reading your post, I’m feeling old. 😊 I’m a native of Southern California and can remember the orange groves. They were everywhere to be seen and in my family’s yard as well. Thank you for the Top Ten chuckles, John. I definitely need sunglasses for this jaunt. 😎

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you got a chuckle. Once I got into this one I definitely wished I had picked a different history point. How much can you say about oranges. I needed sunglasses too. 😎 and maybe a disguise. πŸ₯Έ

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

        You are too funny, John. I like that disguise. πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My Groucho get up.

        Like

  2. To my mind, there’s only one thing better than picking a ripe orange from a tree and eating it before it realises it’s been detached (incidentally, in my humble opinion, the only way to eat sweetcorn), and that is picking a ripe grapefruit from a tree and eating it before it realises it’s been detached.
    Sadly, the box for one of my medications says clearly ‘Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice whilst taking this medicine’.
    Getting old sucks!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with the orange and sweet corn statement. We had an orange tree in California and that was the only way to get the taste. As for corn, I raised it when I lived in the midwest, and I would put the pot of water on to boil and then go out and get the ears. It was white corn called Silver Beauty and was it ever. Thanks for the memories. Yes, parts of getting old suck but we are uncertain about the alternative, so I’ll stick with the aging part.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The sweetcorn we grew in France never made it to the kitchen. The only way it was ever cooked was on the barbecue. Pull the leaves back, remove the silks, re-cover with the leaves and cook over the coals in its own leaf-juices (in Tanzania we ate first-harvest maize that way). My preference was still to eat it in the garden, still warm from the sun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds delicious.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll be waiting on the sequel for the first train of oranges that left Florida. Number eight cracked me up. πŸ™‚ Great job, John! Much better than the horrible Super Bowl commercials last night.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The whole Super Bowl seemed to be a waste. Thanks, Jill but there will be no sequel. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder what inventing a cocktail earlier in history would do. I assume world destruction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I could see Attila the Hun high on vodka and orange juice. Thanks, Charles. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Apparently, the Mongols drank kumis, which is also called milk vodka. So, not that far off the mark there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay ten. Look how all their episodes turned out, 😁

        Like

  5. This is one of the top-10 posts that makes me wonder if I would have survived 100 years ago. I certainly am not suited for time travel, but given how disappointed I was with “shortages” in the super market, I wonder about eating oranges that spent three weeks in a box car.

    Good post, John. Say hi to Tiny.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Tiny says hi back. He also wonders when he can come visit you. He wants to show you a new hold. He thinks Skippy would make a good demonstration subject. Thanks, Dan.😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He can come anytime Skippy is behind the bar and show us that new hold. I’ll tell Skippy he will be famous if Tiny names the hold after him.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes it will be quite an honor for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, now I have a hankering for orange sherbet . . .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can make it with orange soda and sweetened condensed milk. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve never heard of that! I’ll have to try it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Google it for the recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just did! I wonder if orange juice would work. Soda and sweetened condensed milk sounds awfully sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think it would.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s amazing to me how much we learn with these Top Ten lists!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This one was like pulling teeth. Once I got into it I wished I had selected something else. Oh well it worked out finally. Thank you, Dale. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You did make it work. Maybe not the easiest subject! 🍊🍊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Dale. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Tiny, got any Honeybells in that shipment?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Mr. Cox. You had me confused for a minute and then realized you are talking about Florida oranges. No these are all California oranges. I wonder if you would mind if I stopped by to show you my latest wrestling hold. πŸ˜‡

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My bad. I was thinking they came out of CA. Okay then, I’ll give Tiny one free punch.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No don’t do that GP. Just a step over toe hold would be fine.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hard to believe it took three weeks to cross the country!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For freight and third class passingers.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Learned something new here. Oranges were imported from China. Great post JOhn.
    Have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, They were. In the 1500s

      Liked by 2 people

  11. It was that early, in 1886?! WOW! Learned something new again. hanks, John. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Pit.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Always entertaining and educational too, John. I’ll be eating an orange after my walk today!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good idea, Barbara. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Your research days must be an adventure in themselves. Neat bit of Americana that almost certainly had big economical influence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. Takes a lot of time though.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Funny you should write about oranges. In the Poldark series, I’ve just finished, miners couldn’t afford them and they were the best deterrent for various ailments in the mid to late 1800s in England. Made me take pause.

    I always associate any kind of citrus with California.
    Must have been a great day when those 11,000 Californians tasted their first one. Illuminating, as always John.

    Excuse me, while I have one. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I now want an orange. Thanks for the comment, Susannah.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know I go off on tangents John, when I should be more attentive to what you write. I’m sorry. My mind travels I’m afraid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I enjoy where your mind goes. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. What’s left f it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Seems like a lot left or you are good at a cover-up.😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Awe, you’re sweet John. Really!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. 😊 A good heart you have Susannah.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Held together by epoxy. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You’re such an easy laugh John.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. You do crack me up at times. 😁

        Like

  15. Frozen orange juice is a poor substitute for REAL oranges! I try to eat one every day and am not one bit particular whether they come from California or Florida (shh, don’t tell the CA farmers this!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like oranges too. Thanks, Debbie.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Great research, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Becky.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. It’s absolutely amazing all the facts you’ve shared here, even to the invention of the Screwdriver. πŸ™‚ Great post, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well you know how it is. I started the post thinking there was a lot of history packed in train thingy. Not much there so I had to improvise.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Great history lesson as always, John. I’m gonna be humming Carol King’s song all day.😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too, Soooz.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Orange you going to send a few lemons and limes along ? Oh and a tangerine and some grapefruit. Or could this be another Tiny miscalculation on my part ?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Carol King and Orange Sherbert! My faves!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are both divine. 😁

      Like

  21. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    I only had luck with lemon trees, not oranges when we lived in an area where we could grow them. Although ornamental oranges blossoms thrived. Its amazing to think about Southern CA and all those orchards before they started building and putting up amusement parks. 25 billions pounds is a lot of oranges even in our era πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a lot of oranges for sure. We were able to grow oranges when we lived in Sonoma. We also had lemons. It was a great thing to walk out and pick some.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. When I was a kid there were orange groves seemingly everywhere down south, and cherries, walnuts, and prunes in the northern part of the state. It’s not like that anymore, sadly.

    The neighbor behind us at the old house had a lovely Orange tree he gave us a bag or two every year. They were yummy.

    3 weeks to cross the country by train! Wow, that’s a long time. They’d have to pick them green and by the time they arrived they’d be ripe, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was the problem. Oranges do not ripen after picking. Big headache all around. Thanks Deborah.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. There are certainly lots of great facts about oranges here, John. I am quite partial to screwdrivers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to be able to pick oranges off my tree in the back yard and make a fresh screwdriver. Thanks, Robbie.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A little bit of heaven.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. An “Express” train in “just” 84 hours…just a short hop to breaking the sound barrier. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know you have to hang on.

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Have you read the book Oranges, by John McPhee? I finally did, and it’s fascinating — although it’s concerned with Florida rather than California. It’s everything you wanted to know about oranges, but were afraid to ask. This was an interesting post. When I was a kid, an orange in the toe of my Christmas stocking was quite a treat. In those days, transportation was the issue, and fresh oranges were rare. How things have changed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have notread the book. I do remember a fresh orange in my stocking. It was a treat .

      Like

  26. More fun facts. I learned a few things here today (as usual). Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent, Andrew. Always good to learn things. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I didn’t know the story behind the screwdriver, and I grew up with orange juice in a can. Loved the Carol King number. Thanks, John. It’s hard to think of Los Angles as rural and farming.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is hard. Thanks Jennie.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 2 people

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