Fresh From the Farm By Katie Malich

Start the new year out right with a trip to the Tuesday afternoon Culver City Farmers Market. If you’re looking for sweet, tasty, healthy snacks, you’ll find them at the market.

A popular snack for children and adults alike are fresh tangerines.

Tangerines, sometimes nicknamed “Christmas oranges,” are at their peak from November to January. You’ll find several varieties for sale at the market.

Did you know that the word “tangerine” comes from the early practice of shipping this tasty citrus fruit from the port of Tangier, Morocco? Tangerines are Mandarin oranges. Varieties of Mandarin oranges have been cultivated for 3000 years in Asia. When first introduced to Western kitchens from China, Japan and Dibouti, Tangier was the shipping port of choice. Thus, the Mandarin orange became known as the tangerine.

Recent publicity has brought the clementine tangerine to popular awareness, and its taste and convenience have sustained its popularity. Clementines are seedless small, easy to peel tangerines with smooth, thin skin. They were cultivated in Morocco and Spain, and only recently have been grown in large quantities in the United States. Our primary clementine growing areas are in California and Florida. California’s claim to clementine supremacy stems, in part, from the fact that the first place the fruit was grown was at the University of California at Riverside (UCR). This year, 2010, marks the 101st anniversay of UCR’s first clementine trees.

The Culver City Farmers Market is held each Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  on Main Street between Culver and Venice Boulevards in Culver City.

Katie Malich’s mother always put tangerines in the family Christmas stockings.

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