It’s Mandarin Season.

Driving through Auburn on down to Newcastle to pick up a maple tree for a customer I passed this old orange grove on Taylor Rd. Taylor Rd. follows the old Lincoln Highway which was the main highway over the Donner Pass down into Sacramento. Long since bypassed by nearby Interstate 80 I like to travel this way when I can. It cuts through a slice of old California, with old gas stations turned into antique shops or real estate offices.

This is Mandarin country. The main variety sold is the “Owari-Satsuma.” These little jewels are also called “zipper-skin”. They have to harvest them with pruning shears as if they pull on them the fruit will come right out of the skin. This has been mandarin and orange country for over a hundred years. Lots of tall palm trees line the roads and the oranges and mandarins are just now ripening.

The sight of these bright little fruit hanging in the evergreen foliage is a cheerful sight now that winter has arrived. Sacramento is under a freeze warning again tonight and at out foothill location the temperature got down to about 27°F this morning.

Since we are further up in the foothills we tuck our small collection of Dwarf Citrus under the over hang of the gift shop and wrap them with thermal blanket at night when it gets this cold. If we do that they come out next spring just fine.