Most of us don’t live in an area where we can buy excellent, local citrus fruit so it’s become a wintertime ritual for many to order in a box (or two or three) of oranges, lemons, or the like. These boxes also make fantastic, thoughtful gifts.
Where should you by shopping?
What To Buy
There will be a large number of fruit options, much more than your local grocery store, so here what to look for…
- Bearss Lime: Also known as Persian lime. Light green in color and completely seedless
- Blood Orange: A deep red-fleshed orange that is popular in Italy. Not too sweet, not too tart with a deep, subtle flavor not found in most citrus. Sometimes known as the Spanish Moro orange or the Sicilian Sanguinello
- Cara Cara – A pink-fleshed orange with reduced level of acid compared to traditional varieties
- Clementine: A small, easy to peel, seedless mandarin usually sold in large bags
- Duncan Grapefruit: A very juicy, tart grapefruit that has lots of seeds, making it a bit of a pain to eat, but excellent for juice
- Kishu: A small, mandarin from Japan, around the size of a walnut. Easy to peel.
- Lee: A sweet, juicy tangerine that is not typically found in groceries. Difficult and messy to peel
- Minneola: A juicy, easy to eat tangelo (see FAQs below) with a small knob on the top. This fruit is actually the mixture of a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy mandarin. It’s also known as a Honeybell (for its bell-like shape)
- Meyer Lemon: This is a small, sweet lemon that is a citron and a mandarin/pomelo
- Navel: The most common of the recognizable oranges. Large, round, juicy, and sweet, with a pronounced “navel” at one point
- Oro Blanco: A nearly white grapefruit with lots of sweetness. Actually a combination of an low acid pummelo and a white grapefruit
- Rio Star Grapefruit: From Texas, known for its reddish flesh and high levels of sweetness
- Valencia: These are juice oranges originally from Spain. Recognizable by a smooth skin and small blemishes on the fruit
These are just a small selection of the citrus varieties you’ll find online.
Where To Buy Oranges and Grapefruit Online
Here are farmers and cooperatives where you can buy great fruit direct.
Based in the Ojai Valley of Southern California, Churchill Orchards is a 12-acre farm sells Kishu, Pixie, Oro Blanco, Bearss limes, and Page tangors, as well as avocados. They sells boxes up to 25 pounds and only sell organic fruit.
Typical pricing would be $102 for 25 pounds of Pixie tangerines plus $20-30 for Fedex shipping to the continental US.
California-based Pearson Ranch has a wide variety of citrus boxes as well as monthly subscriptions. Boxes up to 35 pounds are available.
They offer a number of more common orange and lemon varieties as well as sampler boxes, organic honey, and other gifting-friendly options.
Despite being primarily known for their peaches and nectarines, Frog Hollow does sell some seasonal citrus. They have Cara Cara oranges, Meyer lemons, Navel oranges, Minneola tangelos, blood oranges, and a few other options. Frog Hollow does sell out often though, particularly with highly seasonal items (like their excellent cherries) so you’ll want to order early and often.
I’ve done many orders from Frog Hollow and would rate them in my top tier of dependable fruit purveyors, so I’ve included them here despite not really thinking of them as a go-to for citrus.
- What is a tangelo fruit?
A tangelo is a fruit that is a combination of a tangerine or orange and a grapefruit or pomelo. The word “tangelo” is a combination of tangerine and pomelo. Examples of tangelo fruits would be a Minneola or Orlando.
- What is a tangor fruit?
A tangor is a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of a mandarin orange and a sweet orange. A clementine is a type of tangor, as are the King and Murcott. The name is a combination of “tangerine” and “orange.”
- What's the difference between a mandarin and a tangerine?
A mandarin and tangerine are quite similar and are often confused. A mandarin is a small citrus fruit thought to have originated in China (hence the name). A tangerine is a similar fruit but associated with Tangiers, but also originating from China. A tangerine is quite similar to the mandarin in its ancestry, but contains some degree of pomelo in it. A tangerine is actually a type of mandarin but for practical purposes the names are interchangeable.