Cocktails Anyone? March 13, 2006

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Here's my elevator pitch: George Cunningham, the grower of this week's Cocktail Grapefruit, could be the Tom Cruise of farming. In the 1988 movie "Cocktail," Cruise moved from New York to Jamaica to flip bottles of booze behind his back while starry-eyed onlookers dreamt of finding that "je-ne-sais-quoi" of the juggling bartender that no amount of bartending school can ever really teach. When I tasted George's grapefruits this week, I started writing a "Cocktail Grapefruit" screenplay in which George and his wife Gale juggle grapefruits to the quiet applause of ranch lizards' tiny feet. My agent says he'll get back to me.
George and Gayle Cunningham live in Fallbrook, California. They have 400 Cocktail Grapefruit trees and a wide variety of other citrus that grow in a secluded valley midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. The Cocktail Grapefruit is a cross between the Frua Mandarin and the Pummelo and was 'born' in 1966 at the University of California Riverside. The grapefruit is light yellow in color and the inner flesh is reminiscent of a white grapefruit or a mild-colored Cara-Cara. They are sweet and juicy with low acid and a rich flavor.   Because of its tangerine roots, this grapefruit presents a wonderful first impression of honey-sweet citrus. The tangerine flavor blossoms easily across the tongue's taste buds and is followed by a refreshing and clean grapefruit flavor on the sides of the mouth. Be aware that this grapefruit has more seeds than most. It's a unique taste experience and the complexity of flavors is close to that of a great wine. My recommendation: Share the love! Cut it in wedges and share with your friends in the office.
Arctic Snow Nectarines: I have to mention the Arctic Snow nectarines in this week's conventional Horn of Plenty and Harvest Flyer crates. These nectarines were flown to us from a farmer in Chile who works closely with one of our Reedley, CA growers. Our California grower called us last week and said his friend in Chile had some fresh-picked nectarines he was flying into California—did we want some? Yes we did! These red-colored nectarines with a lime-white blush are some of the best southern hemisphere fruit we have seen so far. Let them soften to the touch and when you bite into them you'll be swept away to sweet summer. It's a handheld taste-transporter that will momentarily bring you out of the cold March blues. Enjoy & be fruitful!


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