Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sour Varietals

Glad to see that the NYT food section covers old lemon varietals and hybrids which are finding a new niche market on the other side of the country. But if you really want to see how different many citrus crops are out there, go to the University of California Riverside Citrus Collection, which details hundreds of varietals. There was a time in California (during my father's childhood) when diversity was the norm in silviculture, including lots of different kinds of avocados and olives. (And this would also include the not-so-ancient art of smudge pot fires during cold snaps.) The citrus thing is a bit personal in my family: I grew up in a home with two avocado trees, a plum tree, and a lemon tree in the backyard, and my grandparent's home had avocado, tangerine, lemon, lime, and fig trees. Landscaping just isn't any good unless you can eat it too.

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