We're very well off in the citrus fruit department. Our orange trees, lemon trees, lime trees and one grapefruit tree keep us well supplied. (I must add at least one mandarin tree in the near future. To complete the set, as it were.)
Orange juice is one of my big three beverages – the other two are coffee and beer – but I'm definitely only talking about the freshly squeezed variety.
Despite their extravagant advertising claims, I have yet to discover an orange juice producer who can deliver anything within a bull's roar of oranges picked straight from the tree and squeezed into a glass. There's no competition.
We don't even bother with any fancy electrical squeezing aids; one of those plastic pointy things does the job. They're so effective they named a military hat after them.
We were certainly well advised when buying our six orange trees several decades ago. The nurseryman suggested buying two varieties – three of each – because they fruit at different times. Good advice because we now have oranges pretty much throughout the year.
Besides their taste and nutrition qualities, oranges also have the advantage of not being ravaged by the birds. We'll gladly accept any offerings of redcurrants, grapes or plums because ours are stripped clean by avian invaders on the very day their brix levels reach edible and sweet levels.
It's one of life's great ironies that the best way to tell when your fruit is ripe for picking is that it's the very day it disappears and the trees are populated by bloated birds.
Blackberries are different; the birds don't touch ours and I don't understand why. Is it because they're not red enough? Is it the prickles?
We have a rambling blackberry at the front of the property and, for a few weeks of the year, I can stop at the gate, wind down the car window and pick a few to eat without any competition from the birds. I think of it as my blackberry app.
I'm afraid our two avocado trees can't match the oranges and the blackberries. One is huge and bears fruit while the other fulfills some other function, possibly cross pollination. Trouble is that the fruits on the ginormous one are puny and never amount to much at all.
But we don't grumble. It's a pretty tree. And we've got good citrus.
The lemons can star in desserts and drinks and the limes seem to find their way into our Mexican meals. I draw the line at sticking lime wedges into bottles of Mexican beer; in my book, beer and citrus fruit do not belong together. Under any circumstances.
But it's the oranges that remain the stars. They may not always look as handsome as the store-bought ones but it's the juice we're after and that can't be beaten. The only time it tastes funny is if you make the mistake of cleaning your teeth before drinking it.
Spanish-born American chef Jose Andres summed it up superbly; all we need to do is replace the word "American" with "local" or "Kiwi" and it fits like a glove.
"Everyone should wake up and have a fresh-squeezed orange every day. By having a fresh glass of orange juice with American oranges, you are supporting the local economy, you have all the vitamin C you need in a day, and you support the environment because you don't use any plastic from bottles or bags."
Please excuse me if I "borrow" my closing from the Internet and risk sounding like a Christmas cracker:
Q: How do you tell the difference between a walrus and an orange?
A: Squeeze it. If you don't get orange juice, it's a walrus.
- Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.