While most people are dreaming of a White Christmas we here at the Arroyo Vista Inn are thinking of green and orange. Mainly because right now our tangerines are ripe and delicious. You can enjoy them fresh off the tree. One of the joys of living in Southern California is that much of our citrus ripens during the winter and brightens everything with colorful, great tasting fruit.
Russ picked some tangerines today and put them in the living room for our guests to enjoy. He trims the tree of dead branches and fertilizes it several times each year, so he is happy when harvest time comes and he can enjoy and share the fruits of his labor.
Farmer Russ, being inquisitive by nature, also researched the tangerine and found it is closely related to the Mandarin orange and has been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years. There tangerines are eaten out of hand but are also used in salads, desserts and main dishes. We were surprised to find that the peel is dried and used in Sichuan (often spelled Szechuan or Szechwan in North America) cuisine. The tangerine is smaller than most oranges, easier to peel and break in segments and the taste is usually sweeter than an orange. Some have a lot of seeds but not ours, so they are fun and easy to eat. In the Northern Hemisphere tangerines ripen from October to April. Ours started turning bright orange earlier this month.
Our oranges are also ripening and will soon be ready for juicing and served fresh with your breakfast here at the Arroyo Vista Inn. We have ten citrus trees including six oranges and the tangerine and a lemon, lime and grapefruit. In all, we have 22 fruit trees on the grounds, and since the Inn opened almost five years ago Farmer Russ has planted twenty of them. He has promised to provide more in the future on all his farming exploits.
So, if you are staying with us for the holidays, be sure to try some of our tangerines. Even though we have already had a dusting of snow on the San Gabriel Mountains, you will be thinking of orange and green and asking for another tangerine.