A small note in the latest issue of the University of California newsletter:

Did You Know…

In 1927, H.B. Frost developed the Pixie mandarin orange, one of the 40 varieties of fruit to originate at the UC Riverside Citrus Research Center.

In the 1930s, UC Berkeley food scientist William Cruess invented the canned fruit cocktail.

In 1948, now-legendary UC Davis viticulturalist Harold P. Olmo created the perlette green table grape, one of 30 varieties he developed.


‘Pixie’, pictured above, is one of the very best mandarins, and has a proud place in Ladera Frutal’s Tangerine Reality, previously depicted on 13 November, 2005. At the older planting, I noted that I had tried my first ‘Page’ mandarin that day. I only had my first of 2008 today. I wonder what took me so long? The one I had in November three years ago was, I reported, “still a bit tart.” But the one I had today was only slightly short of peak flavor.

‘Pixie’ ripens a bit later in the season, but this year’s are starting to show some nice color. As the photo above shows, the ‘Page’ and ‘Pixie’ each have a lot of fruit that is still green, along with the few that are ripe or ripening. This sort of staggered ripening is unusual for these varieties, in my experience.

I suppose a ripe Pixie would be good even in a canned fruit cocktail, but I prefer them eaten or juiced straight off the tree.

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