“If it thunders on All Fool's Day, it brings good crops of corn and hay.” The Farmer's Almanac has a list of all these great folksy sayings about the weather. Yet “A cow with its tail to the west, makes weather the best,” isn't useful unless you keep a cow in your yard. Accuweather.com may serve you better albeit with less milk. Farmers and fruit buyers are avid weather watchers. All FruitGuys buyers have noticed a longer citrus season this year. Grapefruits and Organic Valencias will continue, but Navels, Temples, Cara Caras and mandarins are over - with the exception of Gold Nuggets which will be coming to an end this week.
Like the children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, farmers like Wes Maas of Pleasant Valley Ranch in Springville, CA, look to the weather to tell us what we'll be eating. “This season has been more temperate so far, allowing the fruit to hang on the trees longer - that ups the sugar and lowers the acidity," says Wes. Heat snaps or late rain have everything to do with the size and sweetness of citrus. Pleasant Valley Ranch supplies the organic Valencias.
And to what do we owe this years’ bumper crop of Pixie mandarins from California’s Ojai Valley in Ventura County? “Several years ago we had a freeze, the trees had to recuperate and now they’re feeling good and making good fruit,” said Emily Ayala of Friends Ranch. Despite California’s drought, the Ojai valley has a climate ideally suited to citrus.
Spring has awakened on the East Coast and many pomes and stone fruit are on the way! All regions are expecting cherries and apricots by the end of May. California's Fresno Valley orchards will likely be the first out of the gate. To help us bridge the time between the citrus and stone fruit season we have U.S. grown avocados and kiwis. As the citrus season winds down, it’s nice to recall the little Satsumas we had at the winter holidays, the Yosemite Golds during March Madness, and the Ruby Red Grapefruit that kept us alert during the long hours of tax time.
- Heidi Lewis