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How do I love thee, oh Clementine?

 

I have such fond childhood memories of clementines from Spain - sweet and juicy and delish. But the last few years all the clementines I have eaten have been a poor approximation of my memory. Those "cutie" things you get at TJs cannot compare. Dry. Blech.

 

But I found local, organc clementines at Berkeley and these are the Clementines of my childhood (albeit at double the price). Sweet, juicy, perfect.

 

Are other people getting good clementines or are those cutie things taking over the world?

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I had always associated clementines with juicy sweetness until I moved (from CA) to New York. For a while the imported Moroccan variety was dependably good; but it's rare now that I get an honest specimen, a fruit that is not moldy or dry or flavorless.

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mr. produce here: i think the increase in the number and quality of mandarin varieties over the last 10 years has been one of the most exciting things to happen in ag. the spanish are the ones who broke the market by exporting clementines, but since then, there's been an explosion in interest and american growers are catching up. for the sake of accuracy, these are classed as "mandarins", meaning they are citrus fruits that are easily peeled. Clementines are a specific variety, but "tangerines" are not ... that's a popular name given to clementines which were once mostly imported from Algeria, through the port of Tangiers. This tremendous growth in plantings (California more than doubled its acreage in about 5 years), has resulted in some problems as occasionally lesser varieties have been planted and more frequently, varieties have been planted in areas to which they are not best suited. In my terrifically chauvinistic opinion, the best mandarins are grown in California (at least in the US), and the best in California are grown in small pockets around Ojai and Fallbrook (much of the bulk planting has gone in in the southern San Joaquin Valley).

 

Clementines are an early season variety and should be done by now. if you see them, they're out of storage and will not be very good. but there are plenty of other varieties around ... my personal favorites are Lees, Pages and Pixies, but, of course, other factors play in: I would rather have an average variety grown by a great farmer than a great variety grown by an average farmer.

 

interesting side-note about Spanish Clementines: some mandarins are always seedless; some are always seeded; and some are seedless only when grown in isolation (they are not self-fertile, so without cross-pollination they will be seedless). To ensure seedlessness in their Clementines, the Spanish use heavy pesticide sprayings to kill the local bee population. In California, this same issue is playing out politically as mandarin growers are trying to get regulations passed that would restrict planting of complementary pollinators within the two-mile buffer zone. this, predictably, is a pretty hot topic.

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To ensure seedlessness in their Clementines, the Spanish use heavy pesticide sprayings to kill the local bee population. In California, this same issue is playing out politically as mandarin growers are trying to get regulations passed that would restrict planting of complementary pollinators within the two-mile buffer zone. this, predictably, is a pretty hot topic.

 

lots of interesting information. Thanks.

 

The bee population is dying off of their own accord - do we really need to hasten it? We really really need them.

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I ate a lot of clementines last year but this year the few boxes I bought seemed dried out and tasteless.

 

At Fairway they had mandarin oranges (with stems and leaves attached) that I thought were quite good. I ate a lot of those over the last few months.

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I ate a lot of clemintines last year but this year the few boxes I bought seemed dried out and tasteless.

 

At Fairway they had mandarin oranges (with stems and leaves attached) that I thought were quite good. I ate a lot of those over the last few months.

seth, not to be pedantic, but clementines are mandarin oranges, just like ruby red is a grapefruit. sometimes stores call them by the varietal (almost always only with clementines), but more often they just call them "mandarin oranges." it's hard to tell which varieties you're buying without labels, but both satsumas and clementines are early-season seedless mandarins that are often sold with leaves and stems attached. both can be really good, so it could have been either of them.

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We make marmalade from a few different varieties of mandarin oranges: Fairchild (now mostly done for the season), Page (going strong at the moment), and Pixie (we wait for Jim Churchill in Ojai to start shipping in mid-Feb). Those Pixies are a bitch to peel.

 

Tamar, Lone Oak Farms (Thurs night Farmers Market in Berkeley, Sunday in Kensington) has some amazing fruit right now; 3 varieties of mandarin oranges, blood oranges, and 2 varieties of grapefruit. Such a treat after the freeze last year.

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Clementines are an early season variety and should be done by now. if you see them, they're out of storage and will not be very good.

ok, i should have learned by now not to make broad generalizations. i just got back from teh santa monica farmers market where i bought ... clementines. and they're delicious. in my defense, they come from a cooler growing area than most of the commercial ones, so they're a little later. still, taste and verify.

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I got the most wonderful clementines at Whole Foods in Union Sq, NYC last Friday. They were round, plump, sweet and juicy. I must get more this week. Those were the best I've had in years

Yeah, Whole Foods in Jersey is pushing the Spanish clementines right now. $2.99 / lb.

 

I just want to know what up with this year's Temple orange crop. That's the one that does it for me.

 

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I ate a lot of clemintines last year but this year the few boxes I bought seemed dried out and tasteless.

 

At Fairway they had mandarin oranges (with stems and leaves attached) that I thought were quite good. I ate a lot of those over the last few months.

seth, not to be pedantic, but clementines are mandarin oranges, just like ruby red is a grapefruit. sometimes stores call them by the varietal (almost always only with clementines), but more often they just call them "mandarin oranges." it's hard to tell which varieties you're buying without labels, but both satsumas and clementines are early-season seedless mandarins that are often sold with leaves and stems attached. both can be really good, so it could have been either of them.

 

I got the sense from your earlier post that this was the case, Russ, but I didn't know how else to distinguish the ones I've been buying from the ones I haven't liked (in boxes) at the Fairway, so I just called 'em what the store is calling them.

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