December is mandarin season in the Sierra Foothills and growers celebrate the harvest with the Mountain Mandarin Orchard Days the first and third weekends of December. Participating mandarin ranches in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn have family-friendly activities ready for visitors looking to learn more about mandarins including
Artists and Crafters
Mandarin Product Sampling including Oils, Sauces, Honey, Juice, Cookies, Cakes, Fudge and Spreads
Local Wine and Ale Tasting
Visit with Santa
Old-fashioned Kids’ Carousels
You Pick Mandarins
Other winter fruits and vegetables including oranges, lemons, persimmons and squash
Plenty of Bags and Boxes of Local Tree-Ripened, Hand-Picked Mandarins
Mountain Mandarin Orchard Days are December 5, 6, 19 and 20 from 10am – 4pm each day. Ranches are located throughout Placer County, just a short drive from Sacramento, located between Sacramento and Tahoe off Interstate 80. (more…)
Just before Thanksgiving break a friend and I took one of my tots and hit the country roads from Loomis to Penryn in the Northern California foothills. This area is part of the Mountain Mandarin growing region and has some of the best mandarins we have tried, grown along sleepy country roads. We didn’t know exactly where we were going. We just had a map and drove around for hours exploring this countryside which was completely new to us.
We saw the driveway to Colwell Ranch and couldn’t tell if it was open. It was a Tuesday morning and the roads were quiet so we decided to drive in to make sure. The ranch was open and we were immediately chatting with the friendly family members that own the place. We even got introduced to one of the youngest generation of farmers on this land, a tot on a push toy being entertained by his grandma, ranch co-owner, Nancy Colwell. (more…)
The Mountain Mandarin Festival marks the official beginning of Placer County Mountain Mandarin season. The event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving every year at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. This 3-day celebration draws 30,000 visitors from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno. Just off Hwy 80 between Sacramento and North Lake Tahoe this event is easy to get to and is the perfect stop for anyone on their way to Tahoe.
Festival attendees can sample fresh mandarins hand-picked by Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association members, as well as a variety of mandarin-based products including olive oils, marinades, marmalades, syrups and mandarin blossom honey. Growers will have plenty of 5 and 10 pound bags of mandarins for sale, ready for holiday enjoyment. Most growers can also ship mandarins to your friends and family. (more…)
Yesterday I walked outside with our puppy in the mid afternoon and it was cold. Really cold. Now cold is a relative term since here in California I realize, only for us here in the Sacramento foothills, a 40 degree day is a sign that the seasons have changed. The icy wind whipped up the valley and I knew it must be mandarin harvest time. Mandarin harvest in the Sacramento area foothills usually begins in early to mid November and continues through December. The warm days and cool nights in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn make the area a perfect place to grow sweet, juicy, seedless mandarins. The mandarins there are tree-ripened and hand-picked to ensure they are perfecty ripe and ready to eat.
I wanted to visit a farm we haven’t been to before and a friend recommended Struble Ranch and said her family has been buying mandarins from them for generations. Turns out the Loomis, CA mandarin farm has been in the Struble family since 1918 and was planted in 1956. In 1961 the Struble boys sold their first mandarins from paper bags out of their garage and they continue this tradition today. (more…)