Citrus is one of Robert’s favorite fruits. Growing up in Santa Barbara, California he had citrus all year long. On the farm we have twelve different varieties. We offer two types for sale: Marsh Ruby Blush Grapefruit is the first. Pink flesh, few seeds. Beautiful color and flavor. The second is the Temple Orange (also known as Royal Mandarin), largest of the Mandarin varieties. They have a thin skin, aromatic luscious flesh with seeds.
Christina fell in love with the grapefruit; that is how she met Robert at the farmers market and got interested in working on the farm. She appreciated the dates, but it was the grapefruit that electrified her senses. Ruby, or pink grapefruit is a cheerful color to eat. Pink is powerful!
Grapefruit, like dates, are a desert crop. They love hot weather. The grapefruit trees are interplanted among date palms - there are twenty rows of dates and nine rows of citrus trees between them. This used to be a common planting pattern seen in the desert. It also fits with the permaculture ideal to diversify. Robert planted 230 grapefruit trees in 2003. They are now approximately 10' tall. In 2005 he started planting Temple oranges (also known as Royal Mandarins). They are coming along and have yet to reach peak production. Robert has 170 mixed citrus trees, mostly Temple oranges.
We love grapefruit in a salad with lots of greens, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette. Grapefruit is as easy to peel as an orange, which is the simplest way to enjoy it. Cut into sections, it is ready for your brown-bag lunch. It smells good and is fresh, juicy, and tart. The slight bitterness is good for your body’s digestion.
People taking blood pressure medication are advised not to eat grapefruit, which is sad because grapefruit naturally lowers blood pressure. Several of our customers who are on those drugs eat our grapefruit anyway because they like ours so much.
It is good to eat the whole fruit to get some of the pith and full nutrition, but grapefruit also juices well. During the winter Robert mixes up tequila sunsets with grapefruit juice, grapefruit ice cubes, and tequila.
We won the Citrus Sweepstakes at the Riverside County Fair in 2008 and 2009. This award is given to the grower who finishes with the most first-place and second-place finishes in the citrus category. We won for the following varieties: Temple oranges, Marsh Ruby grapefruit, Minneola tangelo, Orlando tangelo, Murcott tangerine, Oro Blanco grapefruit, Valencia orange, Lisbon lemon, and bitter (rootstock) lemon.
Robert acquired the citrus trees from Young’s Nursery, the local citrus grower here in the valley.