Dec 14

Mandarin Manifesto

in Family

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

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

K and S December 14, 2008 at 5:05 pm

so nice that you have mikan where you are!!


Hippie Family... December 14, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Yum.. When I was pregnant, I ate at least a box of those a week… hope I am supporting your folks :)


Tamakikat December 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Nothing like fresh produce and even better if it’s from the back yard.

Your parents and your family must be so happy to be living so close again. Nothing like being able to feed a loved one with things home grown or home baked.

You’ve given me another thing to look forward to. I can’t wait to see what’s on offer in the back yard when I get up on in Tamaki Makaurau next Sunday morning:)

Thanks FM.


By the way, found my yoghurt was past its best so the biscuits are going to happen tomorrow after a visit to the store:)


Bobbi December 14, 2008 at 8:16 pm

“until you’ve visited that little spot of earth in my parents’ backyard”…the girls and I will pack our bags!


Fuji Mama's Mama December 14, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Come on over, Bobbi. We’ve got mandarins, navels, and lemons to share!


Fiona December 14, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Oh, you make me miss SoCal. We had oranges, plums, peaches, limes, nectarines, apricots, lemons, figs, and pears all in one yard – thanks to the previous owners.

There’s nothing like fruits picked in your bathrobe and enjoyed hot from the sun.


The Begleys December 14, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Ahhh…I was eating a mikan myself the moment I found your post. I love this time of year!


Bob December 15, 2008 at 10:14 am

Hey, my grandparents used to live in Redlands! They had an orange tree in their backyard too. I remember going there and having breakfast once and my grandfather saying “want some orange juice?” I said sure. He said “Ok, go pick some oranges”. Best orange juice ever.


Fuji Mama December 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Bobbi, we would love to put you up at Chez Fuji anytime! :-)

Fiona– Mmmmmm, love produce in California! Wonderful isn’t it? My parents also have apples, peaches, apricots, lemons, navel oranges, raspberries, tomatoes, and depending on the year, a variety of other things!

Bob– I couldn’t agree more! Fresh squeezed OJ is THE BEST!! My mom makes it sometimes. She also makes lemonade from fresh squeezed lemons can’t be beat! Where in Redlands did your grandparents live?


Melanie Gray Augustin December 15, 2008 at 6:08 pm

So not fair! I came to love mikan just in time to become allergic to them!


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