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What's a Tangerine?
What's a Mandarin?

The Ojai Pixie Tangerine Origin Myth (per us)

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What's tangerine? What's a mandarin?

There's a surprising amount of mystification on this topic, but here's the gospel that we adhere to at Churchill Orchard:

"Mandarin" and "tangerine" are two words for the same thing, technically Citrus reticulata Blanco. They're called mandarins because they were thought to be native to China; they're called tangerines because they were thought to have come from Tangiers. They are in fact native to southeast Asia someplace, and they did in fact come to this country from North Africa, so both origin myths are correct.

There are about a zillion varieties of tangerines. Historically in California we grew the Dancy, which is a lovely, loose-skinned, comparatively late season, and scrumptiously delicious tangerine. They don't store well either on or off the tree, and they have seeds, which in recent years has made them commercially undesirable, but their flavor still defines "tangerine" for many of us.

For many years the Christmas tangerine has been the satsuma, a loose-skinned seedless early maturing variety which originated in Japan.

At Churchill Orchard, we grow Pixies, Pages, Seedless Kishus, Owari Satsumas, commercially and about 7 other varieties experimentally or for fun.

Spain has been exporting clementines, which are a family of tangerine varieties, to the United States for the past few years; now some growers in California have planted enormous orchards (one man has planted 500,000 trees!) of some varieties of clementines.

For more on the Ojai pixie tangerine, see The Origin Myth or go to www.pixietangerine.com.

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