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Citrus Sunshine in Winter

Growing up in Michigan in the 70s was, among other things, ridiculously cold. I’ve definitely seen enough snow and ice to last a lifetime. But one thing I did always love was fresh citrus in the wintertime. It always felt like I was unwrapping a sunny gift from summer in the middle of cold dark winter. Thankfully, now that I’m living in Texas, my winters have gotten much warmer, and better yet, the citrus has gotten much better. My two favorites are the Cara Cara orange and the Texas Rio Red grapefruit.

The Cara Cara orange is hands down the best orange I’ve ever had. It was discovered at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela in 1976. It was a natural mutation the occurred on a Washington navel orange tree. It quickly made its way to Florida and then found a growing home in California. It is sweeter than the average orange and the flesh has a beautiful almost red color. Sweet, juicy and low acid make this the perfect orange for a quick snack. If you’ve never tried one, I highly recommend you find out what you’ve been missing. You’ll be glad you did.

My other favorite is the Texas Rio Red Grapefruit. Local and organic are two of my favorite qualities in a produce item and this grapefruit has both of those things going for it. It was developed in the Rio Grande Valley at the Texas A&M Citrus Center and is grown at G & S Groves in McAllen, Texas. Most importantly, it is absolutely delicious. It is a bit larger than a standard commercial grapefruit, is super juicy, has a deep red flesh, and has just enough sweetness to balance out the underlying tartness. As a grapefruit eating kiddo in Michigan, I’d always scoop a little sugar on my grapefruit. With the Rio Red however, sugar is not needed at all. I section them and eat them like an over-sized orange. They are, like all things from Texas, awesome.

So swing on by your friendly neighborhood Wheatsville Produce department and try one of these wonderful winter citrus selections. They’ll brighten up your day and unleash a little summer sun into our chilly winter air. Stay warm out there!

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