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, seedless kishu, and owari
satsuma. Here are descriptions of the varieties:
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.
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
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.
Satsuma: most growers' satsumas get ripe in October
or November, ours don't even start til January and develop
their fullest flavor in February. They're seedless and
easy to peel, but too fragile to ship so if you want
ours you'll have to come to Ojai.
Available in January - February.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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