One of the most prolific crops that grow throughout the state of California is citrus. From the Navel orange groves in San Diego County to the Satsuma mandarin orchards in the Sierra foothills there’s a citrus variety for everyone. California citrus seasons always kicks-off at Bi-Rite in middle of November with the easy-peel, seedless Satsuma mandarin and ends in the beginning of April with the candy-like Pixie tangerine. The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses loves to celebrate the peak of citrus season by launching the California Citrus Experience in January and February. Over these two months there will be over 25 varieties of citrus on the shelves of the produce department, tasty citrus themed cocktail recipes and plenty citrus products coming from our creamery and bakeshop. From snacking, to colorful salads, to zesty sweet treats, to potent cocktails to seasonal scoops- we’ve got just about every way to make the most of California Citrus Season on deck!
The beginning of citrus season is all about Satsumas- the perfect intro to the season with its sweet/tart flavor and extra refreshing juice. Unfortunately the season is short and usually over by the second week of January. Next up- the Clementine has the classic tangerine flavor with superbly sweet flavor and less acid than the Satsuma, followed by the Page mandarin- a clementine and grapefruit hybrid with a sweet rich juice. Perfect for eating out of hand or juicing. We are fortunate to get our Page tangerines from Lagier Ranch in Escalon, CA for 2 months every year. All of these Mandarins are a treat, but none draw the attention that the Kishu Mandarin does- believed to be native to China and was brought to California in the early 80’s, this tiny mandarin is extra easy to peel and pop in your mouth. Jim Churchill aka “the Tangerine Man” located in hills of Ojai, CA and really knows how to grow the perfect Kishu. Weather permitting we will have Kishus at both Markets thru mid-February.
Beyond Mandarins, our friends at Deer Creek Heights Ranch in Porterville, CA are harvesting beautiful blood oranges, navels and pomelos. The Moro Blood orange has the perfect balance of sweet/tart flavor with berry- like tones and is one of the most versatile pieces of fruit in the kitchen. The Cara Cara pink navel offers a mild sweet flavor and a little less acid than navel oranges. Lastly, the African Shaddock pomelo with its powerful fragrance and tasty meat-like texture, a must-try for any citrus lover. Up your salad game, up your citrus palate, gotta catch ’em all!
Our in-house mixologist Kitty Gallisa put together two different cocktail recipes to celebrate the season-
The Bitter Blow – Who are we kidding, 2016 was rough! We’re drinking away last year’s feelings with this colorful and potent kick to a new year!
The Wake Up – After all of the rich holiday foods, shake things up with a cocktail that’ll make your taste buds sit up and say, “Hello!”
And just in case you need some extra citrus dessert inspiration this weekend –
Caramelized Citrus from NYT Food
Blood Orange Curd with Honey Bourbon from A Brown Table
Winter Citrus Meringue Tarts from Local Milk
For the next couple months we will be introducing new citrus varieties to the Markets on a regular basis. Please swing by our Produce Department, enjoy a tasty sample and really see how amazing California Citrus can be when grown organically and harvested at the perfect level of ripeness! #PeakSeasonProduce!