Arizona used to be known for the four Cs—Citrus, Cotton, Cattle, and Copper. Copper is king once again, but the other three Cs have declined in importance in the last few decades as the population grows and agriculture gives way to urban sprawl. Still, citrus is abundant, and many homeowners have some type of citrus trees on their property. I am not one of them, but I do volunteer each year at the Master Gardeners Citrus Clinic, as I did today. I brought my camera, but much to my consternation, I forgot the memory card and had to resort to poor quality cell phone photos for today's post. The clinic provides homeowners the opportunity to learn all about growing and harvesting citrus in Arizona. Many attendees are new residents unfamiliar with the citrus growing on their new properties and they need information on care and harvesting. The two local University of Arizona Citrus Agricultural Centers provide the venues for the clinics. The Center where I volunteer each year grows over 90 varieties of citrus, some ubiquitous, some obscure, some inedible, but all colorful and interesting.
Because date palms are also common in Arizona, date growing and harvesting information was available along with the citrus sessions. Attendees had the chance to sample various citrus fruit and dates, and enjoy a glass of fresh-squeezed juice.
One of the most unusual citrus grown at the Center is Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus, or Buddha's Hand. This fruit is used as a religious offering in Buddhist temples, and the Center ships this fruit all over the world.
After a day spent sampling numerous citrus and date varieties, drinking glass after glass of fresh orange juice in between my volunteer duties, I think my pH level is leaning toward the acidic!