By Charlotte Fadipe
From milkshakes to mouthwatering meals, from olive oils to lotions and soaps, there's almost no limit to what you can do with mandarins.
At the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn, more than 30,000 people get to sample the most popular fruit around these parts. From milkshakes to mouthwatering meals, and from olive oils to lotions and soaps, it seems there's almost no limit to what you can do with mandarins. And thanks to ideal weather conditions that include cool, crisp nights during the harvest season, this area is the epicenter for California's growing mandarin industry. In fact, California now ranks second in mandarin cultivation, producing 25% of the domestic crop.
And the tiny fruit seems to be catching on big with consumers. Research now shows that Americans eat approximately three pounds of mandarins a year, which is good news for the growers in Placer County. Here, a huge amount of sales occur directly on the farm so there's plenty of opportunity to build a good relationship between growers and consumers.
Local growers know this first hand. Barbara and Loren Lewis have been farming mandarins in Newcastle for more than 23 years now. They originally started the farm as something to do when they retired but today their four-acre labor of love is producing some of the best mandarins around.
At the Latitudes Restaurant in Auburn, Chef Pete Encoch enjoys cooking with mandarins because they offer a delicious and simple way to spice up a meal.
Great for the taste buds, easy to peel, sweet as can be, what's not to love about mandarins?
For more information, visit www.mandarinfestival.com, www.gotmandarins.com and latitudesrestaurant.com.