On Saturday, the Monterey Bay chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers held a tasting for its membership of 62 citrus varieties, all locally grown in Santa Cruz county. Follow along below for photos of them.
The central coast of California is an interesting area for citrus growing, as our winters are well protected enough to pull off growing just about any citrus, but many of our microclimates lack the summer heat accumulation to fully develop sweetness and flavor in certain types. Many pomelos and grapefruits can prove tricky, for instance, while many lemons and mandarins (including clementines and satsumas) can perform quite well.
Another complication to citrus growing is the recent introduction to California of the fatal disease Huanglongbing (HLB), spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. To combat the spread of this destructive disease and its vector (which hasn’t yet been reported in our area, but has already in many other counties), a quarantine has been placed on the transfer of citrus plant material across the state. To enable our community to be able to still propagate, grow, and enjoy some of these rare citrus varieties, we also organized a group order from the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, the state’s authorized source of hygenic citrus budwood.
See below for photos of (most) all of the 62 locally grown citrus varieties sampled at this event, as organized by tables into several categories. Citrus phylogeny and domestication is a complicated topic full of many, often obscure, hybrid cultivars. For this reason, various citrus can sometimes be more easily be classed into broader functional groups, than segregated by straight species alone.