View Showing Oranges Being Harvested in the Groves


This image, taken by Charles “Chuck” Barron, a Tallahassee-based photographer, in the mid-20th century, shows a crop of oranges in a mature orange grove being harvested by hand. Barron worked both as a freelance photographer and as an employee of the state of Florida. Citrus trees and shrubs are native to East Asia, but were introduced into Florida by the Spanish in the late 16th century. By the time the United States acquired Florida in 1821, extensive groves of wild orange trees could be found in various parts of the Florida Territory, some of which were domesticated by American homesteaders. The development of a major citrus industry in Florida dates from the 1870s and 1880s, with the construction of the railroads, which were suitable for transporting perishable products to market. The citrus industry drew workers from around the United States for the yearly harvests. During the Great Depression, destitute workers poured into Florida by the thousands to work in Florida’s fields and orchards.

Last updated: September 29, 2014