Orchards are an important part of any empire. Not only do they produce food for your population, they produce invaluable Plant Fiber for Textiles, which are used in many important items, in particular spacecraft and Condominiums. While Textiles may be produced using Leather, this adds an additional step to the production line - animal carcasses must be produced by farms first, and then be processed at a Meat Processing Plant before reaching the Textile Mill. It's worth mentioning, though, that Plastic can be used to produce Textiles as well, and can be more efficient if sufficient resources are available. Orchards are able to function at night by using electricity. It defaults to whatever your sun quality would be.
Each item produced by Orchards have the option of using natural or artificial resources. Natural resources typically result in slower output, and sometimes lower quality. Water for irrigation may be used on colonies where natural resources are scarce or non-present.