I heard that Ethridge Organics was selling very special tangerines, so I went straight to their stand at the Topanga farmers’ market Friday morning. Aaron Ethridge cut a wedge of the deep orange fruit, releasing its fresh floral aroma- I could almost taste its intense sweet-sour tang before he handed it to me. This is a fruit to seek out.
Mandarins, tangerines, Satsuma, Clementine- the names can be confusing. All of these thin-skinned citrus fruits are mandarins, but we used to call them tangerines, because they were imported from Tangier. Satsuma and Clementine are varieties of mandarins, and the variety I was introduced to on Friday is Tahoe Gold. Some are filled with seeds, some have no seeds. I am happy to report that I have come across only an occasional seed in the Tahoe Golds.
To select the freshest fruits, look for reddish-orange color, firm skin with no soft spots, and a bright flowery perfume. They make a beautiful display in a bowl on the kitchen counter, but don’t leave them out for more than a day or two. Because their thin skins don’t offer much protection, they last longer when placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
What am I doing with this new find? Eating them out of hand. I cannot imagine any preparation that will improve on their outstanding, natural taste. They make a bright start to the day, great for nibbling while preparing breakfast, or a refreshing finish to lunch or dinner.
Aaron says the Tahoe Gold mandarins should be around for another month or so. Ethridge Organic citrus fruit can be found at several farmers’ markets around LA: Wednesday in Ventura; Thursday evenings in South Pasadena; Friday mornings at the Topanga market; Saturday at the Santa Monica market on Arizona and 3rd, and the Calabasas market; Sunday in Pacific Palisades and Studio City.