2013 Taste Testing Winners
Okay, so I've got some ripening citrus in my little orchard, and so far, here are the early results from a few of my trees:
Seedless Kishu - Thank you, Dr. Tracy Kahn SO much for recommending what I think is probably the finest tasting mandarin out there. My poor little Seedless Kishu was being swallowed up by a ginormous Russian Sage which I had to hack down/yank out as it grows by runners. Amazingly, it managed to do quite well despite being choked out, and has rewarded me with some of the best tasting mandarins on the planet. There is nothing to dislike about this mandarin, and it really should be the top "Cutie" mandarin for commercial growers - it is truly seedless, has a zipper skin (you need to cut them off like Satsumas), is sweet, juicy, intense and complex with just the right amount of "zing", not at all sub-acid or boring. It's only detracting quality is its size - smallish, but for me, it makes a perfect snack, and for someone wanting more, well, just eat 2 or 3! Absolutely a perfect snack size for a kid. And, this is my first crop, so they will only get better. I can only imagine.
Michal mandarin - brand new to my orchard just this year. The tree was in a 15 gal. container, very mature, and was loaded with fruit (plus had a huge canopy, so all the fruit got to stay). Typical alternate bearer, so I don't expect much fruit next season. From New Zealand I believe, most likely a cross between some Clementine and a Dancy. Looks like a clementine (and with it's alternate bearing tendencies), tastes to me more like a Dancy. More spritely, higher acid to sugar ratio than SK, less juicy than SK, has some seeds, but still very good, and a very good choice for our desert areas, so may be sweeter in hotter areas. Not bad, and worthy to stay in my orchard. Due to its heavy bearing, fruits are small, like the SK, but again, not a detractor for me, as I like my fruits on the smaller side because I'm on the smaller side :-) Sadly, it is bearing the same year as my Honey mandarin. But, off from one of my Clemenules, so that's good.
Clemenules - Of course the "gold standard" for a mandarin, and brings back memories of Christmas as child - I always got one in the toe of my Christmas stocking, and I was the best part of my stocking, even better than the candy :-) Again, does not disappoint. Just so sweet, juicy, and has that classic mandarin flavor I love so much. A cultivar that has warranted two spots in in my orchard for both taste and sentimentality reasons.
More reports to follow :-)