- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
A new, virtually seed-free mandarin will for the first time be sold in California grocery stores, but consumers may not even notice, according to an AP story by Jeff Nachtigal published late last week. Google News reports that the article made its way into about 200 news outlets.
The story was also written up by reporter Mark Muckenfuss of the Riverside Press-Enterprise in mid-January.
UC Riverside began releasing budwood for Tango mandarins in 2006; more than a million trees are now growing in California. Their first commercial crop is being harvested this month.
Tango is the result of a mutation induced by irradiating budwood of W. Murcott mandarin in UC Riverside genetics professor Mikeal Roose's lab. It has all the good qualities of W. Murcott, but doesn't produce seeds even if bees visit the blossoms covered in pollen from other citrus trees.
Roose told Nachtigal the new mandarin is "like a new car with all the details of the previous year's model, but one that gets 10 miles more to the gallon."
"It's probably the best piece of fruit that's come along for years for citrus growers," Roose was quoted.
Roose said Tango will most likely be marketed as Cuties and Delites. Some may be sold under the Tango name at grocery stores and farmers markets.