RAIN WANTED: So, funny thing about the spate of sunshine-y, springtime goodness we've been experiencing during the first days of 2012. Turns out it isn't so great for our local citrus. Well, of course fruit loves sun, but pretty little tangerines also need a good dousing of rain, too (which has been a bit in short supply, you might have noticed). If stuff like this interests you, and we do believe it should, what with you calling Southern California home and all (a place that's done a bit of citrus-growing in its time), then make for Friend's Ranch in Ojai, which is just about to start up its informational, walk-the-orchard tours for 2012. The first tour for the year is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14.
ON THE WALK: You start at the packinghouse (that alone intrigues, what with getting to see the mechanics of how fruit is packed and prepared for shipment). You'll learn some history -- the roots of Friend's Ranch extend all the way back to the 19th century -- and then you'll pick -- and eat -- some "seasonal citrus" (spoiler alert: tangerines are a ranch staple). In short, the Friend's Ranch orchard tour is a fine outing for families as well as history buffs who want to know more about a tart slice of the the Golden State's fruitly history. And since those all-important rains will eventually be back, you may want to book your slot soon. Tours will run Saturdays through April 28. Adult tickets are $12 while young tangerine fans 10 and under get in for eight bucks. If you're 3 and under? Free admission. Happy citrusing!