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Stories from the valley

Mountain Mandarins

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Mandarin milkshake anyone?  How about mandarin pizza, mandarin BBQ sauce or chocolate covered mandarins?

Going on it’s 27th year, the Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn celebrates this winter fruit, which grows prolifically in parts of the Sacramento Valley.  Due to COVID-19 the event has been modified, but the citrus celebration is still on.  Here’s what to expect if you head up the mountain.

pizza with mandarins

Farm Fresh Food

There are over 80 mandarin growers in Placer County, where citrus thrives.

“We are above the fog but below the snow,” said Patrick Storm of Lemon Tree Agency who is affiliated with the festival, adding that the area’s cool (but not too cold) nighttime climate is ideal for growing the fruit. Mandarins alone are the stars of the show here, but some other items come in a close second.  

“I got a mandarin milkshake,” said Kate Martin, who along with her mother, made the trek from Galt.

“We just wanted an outing, it’s a nice day so we came out.” 

girl in mask holding milkshake

Mailing Mandarins

Sandwiched between the event’s mandarin grower booths sits the U.S. Post Office booth.  You can buy a bag and mail it anywhere in the United States. How’s that for easy holiday shopping? I spied boxes of mandarins heading to Michigan, Montana and even Hawaii!

bags of mandarin oranges

Plenty of Precautions

Mandatory masks, social distancing and online tickets (to track attendance numbers) are part of this year’s event which takes place at the Auburn Fairgrounds and continues all weekend, 9 am to 4 pm Saturday and 10 am-4 pm Sunday.  Bring your address book and perhaps send some Sacramento Valley sweetness to friends and family you may not be seeing this holiday season.