citrus

Pixie Season Is on the Sweet Ojai Wind

The titan among tangerines is going to go into full burst soon, which means it is almost time for a box from Friend's Ranches.

Bill Boch

What to Know

  • Friend's Ranches, a local grower, reports that Pixie season starts in March
  • Several other citrus fruits are ready to ship as February begins, including blood oranges, Cara Cara Oranges, and Eureka lemons
  • The Ojai packing house is open to visitors on select days

A SPRINGTIME CITRUS-TACULAR? It's the delicious, get-drenched dream of so many fruit fans. We want bowls that brim with all sorts of oranges and tangerines and lemons, the sort of goodies that work well in spritzers, and salads, and atop the sort of pudding-like, soft-of-flavor pies that boast a bit of cream cheese, a counterpoint to a citrus fruit's inherent zest. We want to get a bit messy when biting into a slice, and if our fingertips aren't on the stickier side when we're done with these orange-bright delights, then we're a little blue. In short? When March is in view, we're all about the zingy superstars of the produce aisle. And in the Golden State, we can find these golden goodies by going straight to the growers, like Friend's Ranches in Ojai.

THE FAMILY BUSINESS, which is known for its spritely selection of lemons, oranges, and tangerines, begins to ship its orders in the middle of January, wrapping up in May. That's the height of the citrus season in the valley, which means people ordering a box of blood oranges, Dancy tangerines, or the popular Plain Jane ("A simple sampler of what is best the week it is shipped!") know that the juicy jewels they receive will be at their most fabulous and fruitiest. And as for those legendary Pixies? March is the month you'll want to focus on, if you want to place an order. But here's a tasty twist on the Friend's Ranches story: You can also stop by the packinghouse on Tuesdays and Fridays beginning at 7 a.m., if you'd like to stock up on your citruses right there (just be sure to arrive before noon).

A SIGN OF SPRING? The Pixie is a biggie, though its sweet name might suggest something rather more diminutive. But when citruses of Ojai are at their most spectacular, regardless of their size, you can bet that the very sweetest months are just ahead.

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