Welcome to Citruspalooza – my own little celebration of all things citrus! As you know, citrus is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Given my love affair not only with citrus but with citrus based cocktails, I started things off with an Orange Blossom Cocktail – the perfect antidote to this cold and wintry weather. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I decided to get you off to a good start with this Farro Salad with Tangerines and Dried Blueberries. Speaking of starting, last week at this time I was on the road to the Central Valley of California with Melissa’s Produce to visit some of the growers that work with Melissas .These folks are growing some seriously gorgeous citrus… especially tangerines… and although these tangerines are cute, these aren’t the “cuties” you find in the market!
No, these tangerines are something entirely different… in fact, Melissa’s is carrying a new variety that is just hitting the markets now.. but you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for that one.. and trust me it is not only worth waiting for, but finding in your local market… but more on that on Wednesday!
And now, on with the citrus tour!
Bright and early on Tuesday morning, we headed out for the Phillips Ranch, home of Melissa’s Shasta Gold Tangerines. As we walked among the trees, Doug Phillips, owner of Phillips Ranch tutored us on tangerines and what makes Melissa’s Shasta Gold Tangerines so special. Larger than most tangerines, the Shasta is prized not only for it’s gorgeous color and fragrance, but for it’s perfect balance of sweet and tart. Walking among the trees, we got down to the hard work of “research” – picking and peeling a few (ahem) tangerines. They were, in a word, extraordinary… with a clean, deep tangerine flavor that is beautifully balanced between sweet and tart. Melissa’s Shasta Gold tangerines are, as Doug Phillips puts it “good eating fruit”.. but don’t stop there! That clean, bright tangerine flavor pairs wonderfully with all kinds of food – like this Farro Salad with Tangerines and Blueberries.. or in a Tangerine Gimlet… or paired with some sliced Melissa’s Steamed Beets and a light vinaigrette.. the possibilities are truly endless. The only challenge is making sure that you buy enough!!!
Disclaimer: Melissa’s Produce provided transportation, lodging and meals for this trip. However, all opinions are strictly my own!!