December 1

December 1

Welcome to Citrus Season

We’re kicking off citrus season in the fq boxes with two fruits we’re super stoked about. First, a majestically beautiful Tahitian pomelo grown by Murray Family Farms down in Bakersfield – but seedless. For the unacquainted, pomelos are a type of citrus native to Southeast Asia that’s like a larger, less bitter (and more delicious) grapefruit. Pomelos can be oh-so-delicious but are typically filled with soooo many seeds! Steven Murray’s crew laboriously nets each individual pomelo to prevent the pollination that creates seeds and resulting in a big beautiful seedless fruit. Netting whole trees or even rows of trees is common in growing seedless mandarins and pomelos, but netting each individual pomelo is the only way to ensure that each fruit isn’t pollinated. Steven also believes this makes the flavor better. They’ve been practicing this technique for nearly a decade and it’s resulted in delicious, juicy, seedless Tahitian pomelos. If you’re familiar with this variety you may know that, if left unnetted, this one usually has a ridiculous amount of seeds. 

Pomelos are very common in Asia. Lucky for us, many of those varieties and more are now grown in California (maybe even with better flavor but you didn’t hear that from us). Pomelos are pretty neat because unlike many other citrus we’re familiar with such as lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins, pomelos are a true cultivar that isn’t a hybrid. Even more special, a lot of the citrus we enjoy today have pomelo parentage! For example, sweet oranges are a cross between pomelos and mandarins; grapefruits are a cross between a pomelo and a sweet orange. A lot of citrus discovery has been a result of accidental crosses and boy are we lucky for these sweet accidents! Store on the counter, and remove the bitter membrane (by suprêming with a knife or by teasing the segments apart by hand) before eating. Grown organically in Bakersfield.

As fall approaches, we long for the prospect of Terra Firma Farm’s excellent Owari Satsuma mandarins. They are juicy, sweet, and tart! The harvest is late this year and it’s also a light crop. We’ve heard this from other mandarin growers across Northern California and the Foothills, so we’re holding onto what we can! Satsuma mandarins are alternate bearing, which means one year the trees provide a heavy crop and the following season yields less fruit. This is still on the early side of harvest so they’ll continue to get sweeter, bigger, and easier to peel as the season progresses. We’ll be lucky if Terra Firma’s season lasts through the end of December. It may be due to Winters’ unique climate, or because Terra Firma’s trees are many decades old, but their mandarins are simply the best. They develop a sweetness on par with fruit out of the Central Valley, but with a balanced acidity that can’t be matched. We look forward to them every year.

You may notice some green streaks on the skins. We’re conditioned to see lemons, oranges, and mandarins as fully ripe when they are fully colored orange or yellow, but color is actually a poor indicator of ripeness. Most citrus passed through packing sheds, where citrus with any green on it will be gassed with ethylene (a naturally occuring gas that helps plants reach maturity) color it up to meet consumers’ visual expectations for ripeness. Smaller growers like Terra Firma will pick using sweetness and flavor as the guide, and their fruit doesn’t pass through a packing house before making it into your box. We’re grateful for tasty early season mandarins. Enjoy these satsumas, store them on the counter. Grown organically in Winters. 

Also in the box

California blueberries! Store in the fridge. Grown organically in Lompoc by Sandra Newman of Forbidden Fruit Orchards.

Hayward green kiwifruit. Store on the counter until there’s some give/softness. Grown organically in Gridley by Tom White.

Arkansas Black and Black Twig apples. Store in the fridge to maintain cwispiness. Grown organically in Sebastopol by Stan Devoto of Devoto Orchards

Sharp Velvet pomegranate. Store in the fridge. Grown organically in Winters by Toby Hastings of Free Spirit Farms

Fuyu persimmons. Store on the counter. Grown organically in Winters by Toby Hastings of Free Spirit Farms.
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