| We grow 13 varieties of tangerine at Churchill Orchard, although not all of them in commercial quantities. The main varieties we grow are the Pixie, Page, and Seedless Kishu. Here are descriptions of the varieties: |
Pixie: sweet, seedless, easy to peel, small. Really good; stores very well and retains excellent flavor for a remarkably long time.
Available March through sometime in summer when we run out.
Page: actually a tangor (a cross between a tangerine and an orange); deep, intense flavor which matches deep, intense color of both rind and fruit. Seedless. Difficult to peel but its afficionados don't mind, they either cut it and eat it out of hand, juice it (or mix with orange juice or use it for mixed drinks), or they're patient and sticky-handed and peel it even though it's hard to peel. The Page is superb for making desserts and sorbets.
Available February - March.
Seedless Kishu: small, seedless, very easy to peel, fabulous flavor. Children get it immediately; adults sometimes take a few minutes. There isn't a better tangerine.
Short season - available in January only.
We also grow:
Oro Blanco: Oh my oh my. A hybrid between a pummelo and a mandarin. Think of a grapefruit with the sugar built in, and no bitterness. The best.
Celestial golden juice queen (Cocktail Grapefruit): This wonderful fruit needs a new name: it's not a grapefruit at all, it's another pummelo-mandarin hybrid. Intense gold color; lots of seeds; amazing quantities of delicious, sweet juice.
Buddha Hand Citron: one of the oldest citruses, the ancestor of the lemon. Very unusual to look at, wonderfully scented, a symbol of happiness in Asian cultures where it is often given as a gift. Florists and flower arrangers dig it. It's all pith; when diced and candied, the pith is an ingredient in fruitcake.
Meyer Lemon: a cross between a lemon and an orange; definitely will make your mouth pucker, yet sweeter than a regular lemon. Especially delicious for juices or baking.
Available December - February.
Limes: we try to pick our limes when they're really ripe, which means that they're very pale green or almost yellow. Not lime green, they taste better this way. We use limes rather than lemons for guacamole (no seeds, for one thing), as well as for juicing. At the end of the season we juice up a bunch of them and freeze them as cubes, giving us access to lime juice for an extended period.
Fuerte avocado: when we were growing up, this was what you got when you had an avocado. Green-skinned, pear-shaped, rich and creamy, they were the standard. They don't ship well because of their thin skin, so when Mr. Hass found the variety named after him, and it had a hard carapace as well as delicious rich fruit, the fuerte lost its market. You won't see Fuertes often in the stores, but if you run into them at a Certified Farmers' Market, by all means try them.
We grow some other varieties of tangerines as well, for fun or to see if they're any good in our ground.(Tangerines are sensitive to microclimates and soils and rootstocks and all kinds of things, so you wouldn't want to invest a lot in a variety that you hadn't tried out in your specific conditions first if you could avoid it.) Since we don't have much volume, if you want to see them you'll have to come visit us at the Ojai Farmers' Market (Sundays, 9 am - 1 pm, from January through mid-May in beautiful downtown Ojai.)