Winter is upon us, so it’s time for our winter fruit guide. In some regions that means the coming of blustery, frigid weather, and bundling up beneath layers of clothes. Others enjoy a more mild change of seasons.
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” – William Blake
No matter what winter looks like in your region, The FruitGuys is grateful to be able to bring you a delicious mix of winter fruits—some of which may surprise you with their sweetness—all of which can help keep you healthy with their vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Behold: The FruitGuys Winter Fruit Guide! While fruit mixes will vary from region to region, we’ve done our best to capture the big picture.
The arrival of cooler temperatures brings a brighter, more uniform color to navel oranges, a perennial favorite thanks to their extreme sweetness and snackability. You’ll also see lots of small citrus fruits over the winter months, including satsuma mandarins, which are seedless and, thanks to their “zipper” skin, super easy to peel and eat.
Clementines will be strong in December and January, along with Lee tangerines, a tender hybrid of the Clementine Mandarin and the Orlando tangelo, which is extremely sweet and juicy. Minneola tangelos, aka ‘the honeybell’ due to its bell shape, will be harvested in California from January to March. January will bring Blood oranges and Page mandarins from San Joaquin County’s Lagier Ranches—a farm we’ve worked with since 2009, and a recipient of a 2014 The FruitGuys Community Fund grant.
We have tiny and delicious Kishi tangerines from Churchill Orchards, plus tasty and versatile mandarinquats; and kumquats, a delicious blend of sweet and tart that can be eaten whole, skins and all. We start seeing Pixie tangerines in late February, along with Gold Nugget tangerines in March, supplied by our pals at Friend’s Ranch. A treat worth supporting, Pixies are naturally seedless, always delicious, and they’re included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste—a living catalog of culturally-significant foods that are facing extinction.
Keep your eyes peeled for an abundance of tasty grapefruit varieties over the winter months, including pomelos and their sister fruit, the Oro Blanco (or “white gold”) grapefruit. This hybrid between a white grapefruit and a pomelo was developed at the University of California-Riverside in the late 1950s. Delicious and low in acid, this variety has none of the usual grapefruit bitter-tartness—so even if you’re not typically a fan of grapefruit, the Oro Blanco is well worth a try. In addition, you’ll see the classic, highly flavorful Ruby Red grapefruit, and on the lighter end of the color spectrum, Marsh grapefruit. All grapefruit are high in vitamin C and fiber, and pink and red grapefruit contain the beneficial antioxidant lycopene.
WARNING: Be aware that grapefruit, pomelo, and tangelo can interact with some drugs, including those for blood pressure, anxiety, cholesterol, and allergies, as well as others. If you’re on medication, check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before consuming these fruits.
Apple All Over
Most of The FruitGuys’ facilities have local apples in abundance throughout the winter. We also have fantastic, unique varieties from Washington State, including Jazz, Kiku, Kanzi, Koru, Opal, Smitten, SweeTango, and Envy. Buyers have been doing extensive taste testing on apples this season.
We’re proud to partner with Gebbers Farms in Washington state to include the SugarBee, a clear winner in our blind taste tests.
A Plethora of Pears
Pears offer a variety of subtle, mouthwatering flavor nuances, and with proper cold storage, stay fresh and delicious for months.
Unique Winter Fruits for All
Pomegranates and Fuyu persimmons will be gone by the end of the year. Asian pears have mostly finished for the season, though we’re still sourcing some Shinseki and Hosui pears out of Washington and Oregon. Other healthy treats you can look forward to include fabulous Kiett California grown mangoes, which are going strong already, and guava and rambutans.
Oxnard, California’s early strawberries, will be harvested now through springtime. Avocado fans, take note: we’ll have Bacon avocados available from December through March, and Fuertes close behind them in February and March.
Thanks for reading our Winter Fruit Guide. To find out what’s in your box, check out The Weekly Mix, which shows our current offerings by region.