Fresh Mandarin season is underway

NOW IS THE TIME TO SAVOR HEARTY SOUPS AND STEWS along with the bright taste of citrus, which will carry us through the winter.

The Mandarin groves of Penryn, Newcastle and Loomis are greening up, soon to be covered with Owari Satsuma Mandarins, our sweet winter treat.

The success of the Mandarin is a 21st-century manifestation of a unique horticultural history that began more than a hundred years ago. In the 1880s Joel Parker Whitney led the effort to establish the Placer County Citrus Colony, which eventually encompassed more than 7,000 acres.

By 1891, enticed by reasonable land prices and the dream of profits from citrus, more than 50 English families had settled in the area, causing it to be known as the “English Colony.”

Citrus continues to thrive in the region’s climate with the Mandarin the star of the show.

The Mountain Mandarin Festival celebrates the start of Mandarin season each year. The 18th-annual festival takes place November 19-21 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

Tens of thousands come out for this family-oriented weekend full of great food, crafts, live entertainment, Alpacas for children to pet—and lots of Mandarins.

Pilz Produce at Hillcrest, Westview Growers and Miller’s Citrus Grove are long-time festival participants, selling hundreds of pounds of the sweet fruit to eager buyers during the long weekend event.

After the festival, mandarin enthusiasts are invited to visit the orchards through January to stock up on Mandarins for enjoyment at home and as gifts.

Thomas Ranch is one of the many growers open for the season that offer packing and shipping, so that your family and friends can enjoy the sweet Owari Satsuma Mandarins.

A Mandarin Orchard guide for Placer County is here.

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