More citrus at Frog Hollow is in the works!
We hope you are all enjoying the arrival of our blood orange crop! As much as we love and appreciate the delicious fruits our partner growers provide during the fall and winter months, we always look forward to January when our own citrus comes in. Farmer Al planted our citrus grove, which consists of two varieties of blood oranges, kumquats, and Meyer lemons, about 20 years ago. Our small citrus grove, about a half of an acre for all of the types of citrus listed above, was really an experiment because Brentwood is not known as a citrus growing region due to cold winter temperatures.
It turns out our citrus has done very well here most years, and especially now that our winters are becoming warmer. Our CSA has grown over the years, and given our small citrus grove has indicated we can successfully grow citrus, we are working on a plan to be able to provide more of our own fruits throughout the winter.
Last February, we planted an acre of six varieties of mandarins. If you’ve been a member of our winter CSA in years past you will have enjoyed all of these varieties through our partner growers. The varieties include Clementines, Owari satsumas, Pixie tangerines, Page tangerines, and Gold Nugget mandarins. With these six varieties, we’ll be able to harvest mandarins from December through April!
Farmer Al is planning on planting an additional four to five acres of mandarins to bring our total acreage up to five or six acres. We are waiting for the ground to be dry enough to measure and evaluate two fields that are available for planting this season. If these fields don’t end up being suitable for the additional mandarin acreage, we will have 9 acres of ground opening up next year on which to plant, and the mandarins will be planted there.
As excited as we are about the prospect of adding our own mandarins to the CSA boxes, we still have a long wait before we will be able to begin harvesting them. Our experience with citrus indicates that they are slow growing trees in our area. It may be up to five years until we see enough production to include them in the boxes. Until then, we can all savor and enjoy all the juicy and delicious fruits from our partner mandarin growers and appreciate our own blood oranges all the more.
We’ll keep you in the loop of our citrus endeavors as they develop!