Winter’s sweet Mandarins

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we paid a repeat visit to Miller’s Citrus Grove—a 5-acre citrus farm from where we’ve (for years) been gifted, and from where we’ve (now) purchased delicious, sweet Mandarins. It’s always a pleasure to go to the source—which, in this case, is about 40 minutes away in Placer County, roughly 30 miles east of Sacramento. The fruit is left to ripen on the tree, so it’s exceptionally sweet.

As with the previous year, something in the golden, setting sun said fall, while the start of the mandarin season beckoned winter.




We learned that bags of the mandarins are sent to local schools for lunch programs. If fruit that tasted like this had been offered in the cafeteria when I was growing up, I may have actually strayed further from the Tater Tots!


Hudson was pretty enamored with the task of running up the hill and sampling citrus (less-so with all the sitting in the car); but the highlight for him was definitely feeding mandarins to the Millers’ goats (a special treat for them).


If you’re in the area, you should definitely check out Miller’s Citrus (and the rest of the growers along the Placer County Mandarin Trail). Just call ahead to check on hours.

If not, I’m sure you’re starting to see the boxes of Satsumas and Clementines popping up in your market. We added this citrus salad to Thanksgiving this year (in spite of Sam Sifton’s

“no-salad-at-Thanksgiving” rule). I thought it was the perfect way to use them in a dish (if you can stop eating them out of hand): sweet mandarins paired with bitter grapefruit and peppery fennel, dressed and topped with bright leaves of mint. Delicious!

P.S. Last year’s visit to Miller’s, and another favorite citrus salad around here: a Blood Orange Salad.

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