Friday, December 5, 2014

Another benefit of a sunny Arizona winter: tangerines

Tangerine tree at the RV park
It’s tangerine season now in Arizona. Of course, I did my bit to help with the harvest. One of the spaces at the RV park we’re staying at in Tucson has a tangerine tree; park managers put out a call for residents to pick as many of them as they wanted. I filled a plastic grocery bag with tangerines, and peeled one on the spot to eat on the walk back to our trailer. I’m not really a fan of tangerines, preferring the larger navel oranges, but this one was indescribably delicious, all moist and dripping juice. I’m goona go back for another bag.

Arizona grows a lot of citrus fruit, but nowhere near as much as Florida, which accounts for 63 percent of the U.S. citrus crop. Second goes to California with 34 percent, while Arizona and Texas combine for the final 3 percent. While Florida grows more oranges, California grows more lemons and tangerines. When we were staying in Yuma, the street we drove most often was lined with lemon orchards.

In researching tangerine production, I was surprised to learn citrus trees are evergreens. It was not a surprise to learn citrus fruits originated in Asia, in particular southern China. Nor was it a surprise to learn tangerines, which belong to the mandarin orange family, are named after Tangier, Morocco.







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