- Author: Ben Faber
Well it came again, the Citrus Tasting at Lindcove Research and Education Center in Lemon Grove near Exeter, close to Visalia and just down the road from Fresno and up from Tulare. They came, growers to see and taste new and old varieties. And then the next day, the general public with oooos and ahhhs to taste the range of flavors we call citrus. Big fruited pummelos and little fruited finger limes. Sweet, sour, not sweet, not sour, dull, and boing!. Growers came on Friday morning and the general public the following Saturday. It was crowded both days.
Citrus is wonderful, everyone knows, but it is also under dire threat of Huanglongbing and the potential destruction of this industry and the trees that are found in many backyards. So in a completely unscientific survey, I asked growers why they were there if their world was about to end. First of all, those who showed up were already optimistic about the future, so there was already a self-selection. But, growers felt like a solution would be found, science would find an answer. Driving across the Valley and through coastal counties like Ventura there are lots of new plantings......if there's water. But it's surprising how confident growers are about finding a solution. There are some hopeful signs out there like the new rootstock release from USDA of US-1516 which shows a lot of tolerance to the disease. Then there is the potential of disease tolerance in a citrus produced in Florida from a collaboration of Southern Gardens, USDA and a consortium of Universities. Yes, there is hope, but years are still needed to test and gear up for production for commercial applications.
So it was good to be around growers who have an enthusiasm for the future and looking for new planting varieites.
And they are both grapefruit, one is Melogold the one on right is Oro Blanco
Buddha's Hand citron
The Citrus Display at Lindcove Research and Extension Center, before the crowds