Missing the Orange Groves in Riverside The intense sun in Southern California is one reason that its agricultural industry has flourished for decades. But in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, development has proven even more lucrative than agriculture. Commentator Susan Straight grew up in Riverside, and still lives there. When she was a child, she says, the orange groves near her home seemed like the forests of fairy tales. Susan Straight's novels include Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights and Highwire Moon.