February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Fresh this week

As the name suggests, these bell-shaped Indio mandarinquats are the product of a happy marriage between a mandarin orange and a kumquat. They’re larger than the more common Nagami kumquat (that we featured last week) with a more pronounced sweetness. But still, you can eat them the same way, peel and all! The skin is sweet and entirely edible; the flesh is extremely juicy and zingy. We recommend getting both flesh and skin in a bite to get the full sweet, tart, crunchy, juicy experience they offer. There are edible tender seeds which only add to the textural range. Keep these on your counter or in the fridge. Grown organically by Murray Family Farms.


We’re prone to describe all the citrus we love as perfectly balanced with high sugars and high acid, making for super complex flavors. But truly, we’re not lying…this is the best way to describe these late-season Minneola tangelos! The Minneola tangelo is a hybrid of one of the oldest grapefruit varieties in the US, the Duncan grapefruit, and a Dancy tangerine (the “D” in T.D.E. mandarins if you’ve been reading closely). Both are incredibly juicy varieties, a trait that’s carried over to make the Minneola characteristically so. Minneolas lean towards the more acidic side. If a grower picks them too early in the season, when they’re fully colored but still underripe, the flavor is lemon-like. By late winter the sugars have fully developed – especially necessary in this variety – creating fruit with that perfect balance. Salute to the growers’ patience! Keep these on your counter or in the fridge. Grown organically by Murray Family Farms in Bakersfield and Beck Grove in Fallbrook.

We’re seeing the local blueberry season starting up with super limited amounts of fruit from the San Joaquin Valley and the Watsonville area! But these Forbidden Fruit blues that have carried us through the winter are loving these early signs of spring, too. Rain aside, the milder nights and the warmer days in Lompoc are making us feel like we’ve had the smoothest transition into local blueberry season ever. Enjoy these off-season blueberries grown in the Central Coast of California. Grown organically by Forbidden Fruit Orchards in Lompoc.


We’ve noticed it’s been a tough Cara Cara orange season for many of the citrus growers we work with. Pest pressure from citrus thrips, lower yields, and challenging weather has led to a poor availability all around. By this time last year, the market was full of Cara Cara options and the end of February is usually when flavor and volume are peaking. This year, we’ve had to work double time to scare up what we can.

Cara Caras have become quite popular since their discovery in the late ‘70s in Venezuela. Despite what you may hear about Cara Cara oranges being a “hybrid or a cross,” they were actually discovered as a bud sport, a naturally occurring genetic mutation where a portion of a plant shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant. (The nectarine originated as a bud sport of a peach!) Lucky for us, this mutation is an accumulation of lycopene which gives Cara Caras that characteristically beautiful pink flesh. And they’re delicious too! Thankfully, Steven Murray has a good harvest this season, and they’re giant! Keep these on your counter or in the fridge. Grown organically by Murray Family Farms.

Encore appearances

Tango mandarins hit the market in full force when the variety was introduced in 2006 as a seedless version of the Honey Murcott. We love the taste of a true Murcott, but for the Tangos, the bonus is they’re seedless with that quintessential sweet-tang flavor! If Tangos remind you of Cuties®, it’s because Tangos are one of the varieties marketed under that label! Lucky for us, we found a grower who shares our enthusiasm for Tangos (and high quality standards – no offense to the good people of Cuties Inc). Because Cathy and Michael of Spreadwing have only 36 Tango trees planted, this will be the last week of their Tango mandarin season. These last few weeks of enjoying their Tangos have given us a deep appreciation for farmers that do a standout job of growing a common variety that can easily be overlooked in the big market. Keep these on your counter or in the fridge. Grown organically by Spreadwing Farm in Rumsey. 


Jill, owner-operator of Four Sisters Farm, and her crew tend to the five acres of Hayward kiwis that her father and grandfather planted in 1978. On their hillside farm near Monterey Bay, they’ve planted kiwis at the top, flowers in the middle, and greens down below. Jill says her parents started farming organically before it was ever “sexy and marketable.” After years of cultivation and compost amendments their farm is now proudly showing off almost three feet of fertile topsoil, compared to the three inches they started with. Monterey County may be the land of strawberries and artichokes, but its climate is also perfect for these kiwi vines, nurtured by the gentler summer just a few miles from the ocean. Jill harvests her kiwis later in the season and flavor-wise, these are the BEST kiwis we’ve had. She’s got a good crop this year and we love supporting women farmers who are growing big commodities like kiwis on a smaller scale. Store these on the counter until desired softness, or at fridge temps to extend shelf life before ripening. Grown sustainably by Four Sisters Farm in Aromas.

At the far end of the Capay Valley, Cathy and Michael are growing delicious Washington Navel oranges that are harvested, washed, and packed on their 15 acre diversified farm. The flavor is so amazing that every time we take a bite, we’re like “wow, where are these from again?!” It feels like the year that the Washington Navel has really shone. From Rainwater Ranch’s Washington Navels to Spreadwing Farms, for us, it’s been the star of citrus season! The season is winding down so we won’t see these for much longer. A freshly harvested Washington Navel is incomparable. Store on your counter or in your fridge. Grown organically by Spreadwing Farm in Rumsey.
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