I, Fuji Mama, hereby assert that a certain corner of my parents’ backyard, acting as the home to two Satsuma trees, in the City of Redlands, California, be hereafter known as paradise on Earth.
Seriously people, you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve visited that little spot of earth in my parents’ backyard. Redlands is the city that I spent the majority of my growing up years living in, and it is a city rich with history and charm. Theodore Roosevelt recognized this charm during a visit to the city in 1903 and called Redlands “a sight for the Gods.” Beginning in the late 1880s and continuing until the late 1950s, Redlands was the heart of the largest navel orange producing region in the world. In fact at one point Redlands had 22 citrus packing houses. In 1904 more than a million boxes of fruit were shipped out all over the world. Although the citrus industry has become less profitable and there are now only two packing houses in Redlands, there are still many remaining citrus groves scattered throughout the city, and when the orange blossoms are blooming you can get intoxicated by the smell just by stepping outside. Redlands’ warm days and cold nights provide the perfect climate for navel oranges, producing an exceptionally sweet and beautifully colored orange. My parents planted a couple of Satsuma trees a few years ago, taking advantage of that perfect climate, and have been enjoying an abundant supply of fruit every year since.
They love to torture relatives living in colder gloomier winter climates with stories of sunshine, warm weather, and piles of oranges. Satsumas are beautiful little orange globes with a dimply skin that peels away easily, leaving you with small seedless sections of fruit that are bursting with flavor.
They are so easy to peel, that it is also extremely easy to eat a mountain of them in one sitting.
Living so close to those trees is proving to be a huge bonus to having moved here. My mom brought us a grocery bag bulging with fruit a few days ago and we have been feasting on the sweet flesh ever since.
Not only is the fruit unbelievable delicious, it’s comforting as well as it’s a treat I grew up eating, and a treat that I enjoyed eating in Japan as well. Satsuma is the variety of mandarin orange known as mikans in Japan. Little did my parents know when they planted those trees that they were planting a bit of Japan for me in their backyard.
Coming Tomorrow: Mr. Fuji’s at it again–Creamy Crockpot Porky Chops