Diane Nelson, UC Davis
In an orange grove outside Exeter, California, workers climb aluminum ladders to pick fruit with expert speed. California produces 80 percent of the nation’s fresh oranges, tangerines and lemons, most of it in small Central California communities like these.
“This may be the last place in the world where you can still grow citrus,” says farmer Richard Bennett, reaching high to pull an orange from a tree. He peels it in two long ribbons, and the scent of zest fills the air. “Citrus is so important to our health and economy, and it’s threatened by a devastating disease.”