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  • Renee C. Byer /

    Nessa Gallegos-Sandoval, 4, helps carry a sack of mandarin oranges while visiting with her grandparents last November at the Mandarin Festival in Auburn. The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, running Nov. 22-24.

  • Hector Amezcua /

    Free samples are part of the scene at the annual Mandarin Festival at the Auburn Fairgrounds. Above is a scene from 2010.

Mountain mandarins: Easy to peel, ready to be celebrated at Auburn fest

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 - 8:42 pm

The Sierra foothills are home to the crème de la crème of citrus: The mountain mandarin. The mandarin is a true citrus experience. It has a sweet and tangy scent, is seedless, easy to peel and healthful.

Each year, the mandarin harvest begins in November and continues through January. The dozens of orchards in Placer County – first planted in the 1880s by Welsh settlers – are spread throughout rural Auburn, Newcastle, Penryn, Loomis and Lincoln.

More than 30 mandarin growers in the county form the Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association. During harvest season, you can visit their orchards, buy a bag of freshly picked mandarins and meet the farmers.

Mandarin Festival

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Mandarin Festival in Auburn. It is Nov. 22-24, the weekend before Thanksgiving, at the Gold Country Fairgrounds.

Growers bring their familiar 10-pound orange-mesh bags of the fruit. This year’s crop is expected to be plentiful.

The festival includes food booths with mandarin-flavored drinks, salads, grilled meats, marinades and syrups. Cooking demonstrations feature mandarins as an ingredient. A mandarin recipe contest attracts amateur cooks. Quality hand-made crafted items also are for sale just in time for the holidays.

For more information, visit www. and www.

– Jeff Pelline

In addition to picking up fresh mandarins at the Mandarin Festival, Nov. 22-24 in Auburn, during the first and third weekends of December the public can visit most mandarin growers in Placer County and purchase mandarins and mandarin products directly from the farmer. Many of the growers listed below welcome visitors in December weekends during what they call Orchard Days, and plan events on those weekends at their farms. Check in late October for updates on events at each farm or contact an individual farmer to see what events they have planned or at what farmers’ market you can find them that week.. By mid-October many of the farmers listed below will start taking pre-orders of mandarins for shipping.

Abel’s Garden House

2366 Bald Hill Road, Auburn

(530) 885-1646

Ann’s Orchard

4595 Godley Road, Lincoln

(916) 645-1496

Bella Mandarin Ranch

4330 Garden Bar Road, Lincoln

(916) 408-1746

Blue Goose Produce

3550 Taylor Road, Loomis

(916) 652-8341

Colwell's Thundering Herd Ranch

2500 Penryn Road, Penryn

(916) 663-1050

Glenview Acres

9881 Glenview Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-2489

Highland Orcards

2170 Aguilar Lane, Penryn

(916) 663-3897

Hillcrest Orchard

956 Clark Tunnel Road, Penryn

(916) 663-3603

Jordan Family Farms

1780 English Colony Way, Penryn

(916) 663-9759

Lone Oak Grove

6646 Butler Road, Penryn

(916) 663-2662

Magnolia Hill Orchard

7370 Ridge Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-3739

Mandarin Hill Orchards

2334 Mandarin Hill Lane, Penryn

(916) 663-3809

McSorley Family Farms

7168 Ridge Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-6367

Miller’s Citrus Grove

6609 English Colony Way, Penryn

(916) 765-3264

Miller Honey Mandarins

80 Geraldson Road, Newcastle

(530) 889-0552

Newcastle Produce

9230 Cypress Street, Newcastle

(916) 663-2016

Newcastle Mandarin Ranch

3219 Hector Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-1475

Pilz Produce at Hillcrest

956 Clark Tunnel Road, Penryn

(916) 663-3603

Pine Hill Orchard

4480 Hansen Road, Loomis

(916) 652-7555

R4 Farms

5920 English Colony Way, Penyrn

(916) 674-2203

S & J Mandarin Grove

145 Uncle Joe’s Lane, Newcastle

(916) 663-3310

Side Hill Citrus

4065 Pleasant Hill Road, Lincoln

(530) 888-6048 or (916) 343-1098

Snow's Citrus Court

9860 Powerhouse Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-1884

Struble Ranch

4927 Hansen Road, Loomis

(916) 652-7503

Sunset Ridge Mandarins

7825 Fox Hill Lane, Newcastle

(916) 663-9158

Sweet Mandarin Farms

263 Old Oak Road, Newcastle

(916) 663-2930

Thomas Ranch

8265 Mt. Vernon Road, Auburn

(530) 823-0350

Traylor Ranch Mandarins

7745 Law Lane, Loomis

(916) 996-9188

Tudsbury Orchards

8815 Tudsbury Road, Loomis

(916) 652-5041

Villa Rose Mandarins

9240 Barbula Hill Road, Newcastle

(916) 225-4838

Westview Growers

3550 Taylor Road, Loomis

(916) 652-8341

Willow Creek Ranch

1301 Clark Tunnel Road, Penryn

(916) 663-2820

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