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The Valencia orange is a sweet orange first hybridized by pioneer American agronomist and land developer William Wolfskill in the mid-19th century on his farm in Santa Ana in southern California in the United States.
William Wolfskill, an American who became a Mexican citizen in the 1820s while working in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a fur trapper, migrated to California. He was given a land grant as a naturalized Mexican citizen under Mexican government rules. An American born in Kentucky and reared in Missouri, he cultivated numerous vineyards and grape varietals, and was the largest wine producer in the region. He continued to buy land, and later had sheep ranches, as well as developing extensive citrus orchards.
Before his death in 1866, Wolfskill sold his patented Valencia hybrid to the Irvine Ranch owners, who planted nearly half their lands to its cultivation. The success of this crop in Southern California led to the naming of Valencia, California. It became the most popular juice orange in the United States.
Primarily grown for processing and orange juice production, Valencia oranges have seeds, varying in number from zero to seven per fruit. Its excellent taste and internal color make it desirable for the fresh fruit markets, too. The fruit has an average diameter of 2.7 to 3 inches (70 – 76 mm). After bloom, it usually carries two crops on the tree, the old and the new. The commercial harvest season in Florida runs from March to June. Worldwide, Valencia oranges are prized as the only variety of orange in season during summer.