Tonya Bell Tangerine?

slopfrogNovember 20, 2012

I stopped by a local fruit stand in Lake County FL today and picked up a 1/4 bushel of "Tonya Bell Tangerines." I can't find any information on the Internet about this cultivar, so I am assuming it more commonly goes by another name. Anybody know what it is?

Fruit is medium to smallish, not particularly dark orange, with a VERY loose peel and somewhat bumpy texture slightly reminiscent of Ugli Fruit. It is seedless. Sugar and acid content both seem low... Not a very tasty fruit but probably the easiest to eat citrus I've ever come across. I'm guessing it's some kind of tangelo.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Have not heard of this variety. Honeybell (Minneola) and Sugar Belle (cross between a Minneola and Clementine mandarin) tangelos, but not Tonya Bell. Did you find out who the grower is? They might be able to give you more info on this cultivar, or if it is really one of the above two.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:36PM
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slopfrog

I bought it from a stand that was an honor system... Nobody was even there to talk to.

It's definitely not a minneola... Minneolas are way harder to peel and taste a lot better. This peel literally is falling off every fruit. You can unzip it in one big piece with little effort - never seen a citrus peel this easily. Also, it's peel is kinda wrinkly, unlike a minneola.

I've never had a sugar belle, Is that the reverse of Page ? (Also a hybrid of a minneola and a clementine.) it definitely tastes nothing like page. page also has very melting segments while these are definitely firmer. My page at home is also slap full of seeds.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:48AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Hmm. Have no idea on this one, slopfrog. And yes, the Sugar Belle is probably another regional name for Page, or is another similar successful Minneola/Clementine hybrid. We don't see Sugar Belle here in California. We just see Page. You could always go back and leave a note with a contact email to see if you can find out more about the variety, like what nursery they purchased the tree from.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:03AM
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slopfrog

Too bad it's 160 miles north of me. :) I was visiting relatives. Interestingly, that area used to be the citrus capital of FL but was largely abandoned after terrible freezes. The industry has now mostly moved south.

I looked up sugar belle and apparently it is a new hybrid released by UF in 2009. Judging by the groves next to the stand, they haven't planted any new trees in many, many years! So it ain't that!

I do wonder how many different crosses can be made between two cultivars with different results. It has the same parentage as Page, but is supposedly different. I guess you can cross two people multiple times and end up with brothers and sisters that aren't the same!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 1:05PM
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johnmerr(11)

Florida has a bad habit of putting their own names to fruits; for example the Cara Cara is sold there as Red Navel; and the Sambokan lemon is sold there as a Sambo lemon. You said it was a roadside honor system stand; have you considered that Tonya Bell might just be the name of the grower? It is a fairly common name; the sign said "tangerines", which is not really a variety.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 5:46PM
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johnmerr(11)

Here's a true story I used to tell in my agri-marketing class. Near my hometown of Chico, CA, there used to be a mandarin grove on the side of the highway; the owner hired the local high school kids to pick them and sold the entire crop at the side of the road with a sign reading, "Tom Brown Tangerines"; it was a famous place to stop when the fruit was in season and the fruit was exceptional. One day, I suppose, someone must have told him they weren't tangerines; because he changed the sign to "Tom Brown Mandarins". His sales fell off sharply and people quit stopping; then one day someone stopped and asked him whatever happened to those wonderful tangerines you used to have here every year? At that point, he changed the sign back to Tom Brown Tangerines!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:41PM
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slopfrog

There we're several varieties of citrus there, all called by their proper names, so it seems unlikely they just named this variety after themselves.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:22PM
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