Nosh

Market report: Mandarins and their descendants

Guru Ram nectarines. Photo- William Newton
Nectarines from Guru Ram Das Orchards. Photo- William Newton

Fall and winter fruit is officially here! Cold-weather varieties include pears, pomegranates, persimmons, dates, and the most diverse of them all: citrus.

Currently available are lemons, pomellos, grapefruit, and of course, the mandarin orange. This small fruit packs a large flavor, and, despite its popularity, is often mistaken for its descendants: the clementine and tangerine. The latter fruits are actually “cultivars” of the mandarin, meaning they are mandarin oranges that have been bred for a desired trait..

Mandarin satsumas from Kaki Farm. Photo: William Newton
Mandarin satsumas from Kaki Farm. Photo: William Newton

A beloved variety of mandarins is the Dancy tangerine, featuring a chewy texture, sweet juicy interior, and an overall diminished sour tang than that of other mandarins.

In today’s grocery stores, Dancys have been widely replaced by Murcott tangerines due to their fragility, but can still be found at Guru Ram Das Orchards during the Ecology Center’s Tuesday South Berkeley Market or Saturday Downtown Market.


More common but equally delicious varieties include the Satsuma and Kishu mandarin, which can be found at Blossom Bluff Orchards at these same venues.

Mandarins have excellent nutritional value and make for convenient snacks with their thin, easy-to-peel rinds. They taste great by themselves, added to salads, or cooked into a spiced winter marmalade.

Throughout history, mandarins were used as stocking stuffers along with chocolate coins. Maintain the tradition by stopping by a farmers’ market for some winter fruit before it’s gone!

Market Report is written by the Ecology Center, the Berkeley nonprofit that, among other things, hosts Berkeley’s three weekly Farmers Markets. For hours and locations of the markets, visit the Ecology Center website.

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