Sunday, January 27, 2008

C Is For Citrus

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!




23 comments:

Wurzerl said...

Great! Buddha's Hand! I saw this fruit the first time in the wonderful garden of Sir Peter Smithers, (he was a good friend of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Winston Churchill)he was a great English diplomat, writer and gardener. I never forget him, his wonderful garden in Switzerland and Buddha's Hand!
You did a good job without your memory card! It' s a very interest post.
Have a good Sunday Wurzerl

Barbara said...

Mmmh! I would have liked to be there. It was certainly an interesting and informative day. I cannot live without my daily fresh squeezed orange juice...

Crafty Gardener said...

What a huge variety of citrus fruits you have there. Makes my mouth water looking at the photos.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

I'd never seen a pummelo and now I've seen two in a week.

I took the boat tour at Disney's Land Pavilion at Epcot last week. They have, in their "biosphere," what one would believe, to be an impressive collection of freakishly large fruits and vegetables growing.

They point out the "Nine pound lemons" on the quick boat tour through the gardens. And you're left with the impression that Disney's botanists have engineered this huge lemon.

On the "Behind the Seeds" tour I went on after the boat ride, the guide points out that they're NOT lemons, but pummelos. And their taste is more akin to grapefruit and the skin is about 3/4" thick.

I took LOTS of photos of the Disney gardens and will be posting them in the future.

kate said...

I had no idea that citrus was grown in Arizona - the agricultural centres must be incredible places. I loved the photo with all the different plates of fruit. The dates caught my eye though. Medjools are so delicious... lucky you!

I hope your husband is doing much better.

genny said...

Oh thats a delicious citrus fruits. If my son saw that he will really crave. Last night he tried to get the orange and eat it.

Pudgeduck said...

If you keep posting your outstanding posts, more people will come and buy more of the remarkable Arizona land! What a great state!

kml said...

Your camera phone did a great job with the pics. I never realized there were so many kinds of citrus, and Arizona never crossed my mind a being a major producer of it. Love to learn new things!

Garden Wise Guy said...

I'd tell you this was a sweet treat, but there's a bit of acidic after-taste. Thanks for the nice change of pace on GTS.

Just got our first snow of the season in Santa Barbara and there are some scared citrus and avocado growers.

Mary said...

This post is so interesting. I love citrus and those dates look so good. I would have loved to have attended to learn more about the things that grow in your area.

Thanks for an informative post. I enjoyed my visit.

Happy GTS.
Blessings,
Mary

WiseAcre said...

Alas
Some things aren't meant to be. Do you know of a citrus that can take sub-zero temps or where to find a greenhouse the size of a football field.

farmingfriends said...

This is sucha an interesting post and all the varieties of citrus are so colourful.
Sara from farmingfriends

Curtis said...

Poor cell phone pics? I wouldn't have known the difference. I love citrus and dates. I found your post very interesting and I love the Buddha head citrus

Saskboy said...

It looks so very yummy!

Ginni Dee said...

And I thought I was in citrus heaven because I just scored some blood oranges!

What a great state you live in!!

Oh and dates are wonderful.

nikkipolani said...

Aiyana, I think your camera phone did very well. And what a very helpful clinic - esp since people could taste the different flavors of citrus fruit.

Correy said...

Fantastic I loved this post. What a great idea for a day out.

All the citrus looked so good on those tables that I bet all the troubles with citrus pests and diseases were forgotten.

The Buddha's Hand or fingered citron is so interesting apparently one of their uses other then religious cerimonies is as a natural aroma for a room.

You just display it with pride and your room smells fresh and clean because of it.

Julie said...

You must have the worlds greatest camera phone!!! Awesome photos! What a fun day this must have been! I saw a pummelo at the fair the other night, and then again at my Publix Greenwise Market. I think I have also seen them on display at our Botanical Gardens, much like this...I think it is time for me to try one! The one at the end right of the top photo looks so juicy and yummy...I want one right now!

Tricia said...

Wow I had no idea there were so many different varieties of citrus! Buddha's hand looks really weird.

Even though you took your photos with a cell phone I think they look great

No Rain said...

Thanks for all the GTS comments. The 90 varieties grown at our local Citrus Agricultural Center may sound like a lot, but the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside, California has over 1500 varieties in their orchards. I doubt they have tasting tables set up for their total collection!

Muum said...

Looks like a fun day, and a good way to educate people about what is growing in their yards.

Jenn said...

All I can say to this is Damn, but your cellphone takes GREAT pictures.

*grin*

Anonymous said...

Surfin your older posts this one is great! I just wanted to point out that I was taught Arizona had 5 "C's"; Climate (for tourism) was the other.