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Keeping strong citrus appeal

Bright, beautiful and bursting with flavor, citrus fruit has a big-time appeal.



Bright, beautiful and bursting with flavor, citrus fruit has a big-time appeal. There's so much you can enjoy about these fruits, and every year there are more different kinds to chose from.

California grows about 80 percent of the fresh oranges and lemons grown in the U.S., but that's not all. In the Sierra foothills, the mandarin has prospered. In fact, Placer County even has a festival that attracts 25,000 people to sample mandarins from fresh to chocolate-dipped.

Helping keep everyone fed and happy happens at the University of California, Riverside, citrus variety collection. Established a century ago, it's incredibly diverse.

"We have probably 900 different types. They're not all commercial varieties, but we have about 900 different types of citrus and citrus relatives," said curator Tracy Kahn. "They range from things as small as a pea to as big as our head, and they range in color from something that can be purplish to something that can be reddish, orange or yellow."

This collection, and the research that goes with it, is vital to the health and well being of California citrus fruit - not only keeping groves healthy and keeping supermarkets well stocked, but identifying new and exciting fruit that shoppers will love.

For more information, visit www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu.


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