Mandarinquats are back at the Certified Farmers’ Markets, and are this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week!
Each year, Mandarinquats, a hybrid between the Mandarin Orange and the Kumquat, make a brief appearance at the markets, much to the delight of citrus aficionados. Why? Because these strangely named little citrus fruits inherited the best of both their progenitors. Larger, plumper and juicier than Kumquats, they are still small enough to eat in a couple of bites. They are also a bit sweeter than Kumquats, yet still maintain that distinctive tart/sweet Kumquat flavor, albeit enhanced by the addition of the Mandarin.
Like Kumquats, Mandarinquats are generally eaten whole. The fruit itself is tear-shaped (much like a Kumquat), but bright orange in color, like a Mandarin. The Mandarinquat’s skin is sweet and fragrant; a perfect contrast to the delicious flesh, which is slightly tart and acidic. Be ready for seeds, though, as Mandarinquats have them aplenty.
The Mandarinquats at the Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets are grown locally by Susan Kelley, who, with her family, owns Bautista Creek Farms up in Hemet. They have been growing citrus there for twenty five years, and specialize in rare or unusual citrus varieties, including this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week, Mandarinquats. (They also grow Pink lemons, Meyer lemons, finger limes, Kaffir limes and leaves, blood oranges, Cara Cara navel oranges, mandarin oranges, and citrons (to name a few).) A word to the wise, though - if you’re inclined to sample these delicious beauties, don’t delay. Mandarinquats are only available for a few months each year – and you won’t find them at your local grocer.
Did You Know: Mandarinquats are true Southern California natives, having all descended from an open pollinated seedling that came up as a volunteer near UCLA. They are also more than likely Coachella Valley natives, as most of the Mandarinquats available today can trace their origins to Indio, CA, which is home to one of the original planting groves of the Mandarinquat tree. For this reason, Mandarinquats were often referred to as Indio Mandarinquats when they first appeared on the commercial market.
Price: $ 2.50 per pound
All Certified Farmers’ Markets accept CalFresh EBT Cards, WIC Farmers’ Market Checks, and Senior Farmers’ Market Checks. The Markets also offer Market Bucks that can be purchased using charge cards or cash, then used at the market for purchases.
Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market: NEW HOURS in Palm Desert only (8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). The Market is held at 72-599 Highway 111 (adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce).
Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held at 2300 Baristo Rd. (adjacent to The Camelot Theatres)
La Quinta Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held in Old Town La Quinta at 78100 Main Street (off Calle Tampico).
The Certified Farmers’ Markets are the Coachella Valley’s only State and County Certified Farmers’ Markets. That means all the fruits, vegetables, meats and other products that are on sale at the markets have been grown on California Certified farms. In addition, almost all the farms are located within a 90 mile radius of the markets (thus reducing the carbon footprint), and many of the products sold are “USDA Certified Organic.”
The Certified Farmers Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.