Another best kept secret of the Sacramento region is our mandarin oranges!  Unlike the sometimes tasteless Cuties you get year-round in the grocery stores all the way from Fresno.  Discover something great.  We have our own citrus gold right here in the Placer Foothills!  This is really Farm-to-Fork (or Orchard-to-Mouth) goodness so close to home!  mandarins

I personally LOVE the Satsuma Mandarins and always go to Penryn to pick up boxes of them.  Not that I really need any additional reason to eat them, but just 10 oz. of mandarin juice, believe it or not, contains as much synephrine (a natural antihistamine) which relieves cold and allergy symptoms – so stock up!  There’s no need to feign illness, they’re simply delicious – I like the somewhat earthy flavor of the Satsumas over the Clementines which come out later in January.

Satsumas are starting to ripen now and will be in season through Christmas.  To jump start the season, the growers of Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, and Lincoln celebrate with the Mountain Mandarin Festival which runs this weekend Nov 18-20, 2016 at the Gold County Fairgrounds, 1273 High Street, Auburn, CA  95604.  The festival draws people from all over Northern California and neighboring Nevada.  I’m going!  I hope to see you there too!

map-of-orange-orchards Right off I-80 just northeast of Rocklin, orchards dot the landscape and country roads beckon with enticing open space weaving an eclectic scenic mix of old and new.  Even if you can’t make it to the festival, the orchards are starting to open and you can go get your very own boxes or bags of mandarins for you and your Thanksgiving guests too.  15tourtomaguilarmandarinhill13-2

Which reminds me, Ikeda’s in Auburn is where we always go for the BEST Thanksgiving pies!  It’s a family tradition to “run” up the hill to Auburn and see the stacks and stacks of pies and grab our order of two or three.  We always get a Dutch Apple Pie,ikeda-apple-pie Peach, and of course Pumpkin!  Call and place your order ahead of time and join in the seasonal fun.  I think Ikeda pies are a lot better than Marie Calendars because of the crust.  Personal preference of course!  Let me know if you don’t agree!

Ikedas
Address: 13500 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603
Phone:(530) 885-4243

Lastly, I’m going to share a recipe for a healthy salad made from some local, seasonal ingredients.  I make it every year and bring it to friends’ and relatives’ houses and invariably someone always asks if they can finish it up.  It’s that tasty!

Autumn Gold Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups baby spinach (or mixed greens) 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup walnuts, shelled and roughly chopped 1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mandarin oranges, peeled, sectioned, and cut in half 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped into bite-sized pieces 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 pomegranate seeds 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup orange juice 1/4 cup white sugar (or honey)
1/4 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly toss spinach, walnuts, oranges, red onion, avocado, and pomegranate seeds.
  3. In a large jar with a lid, mix the orange juice, oregano, olive oil, vegetable oil, balsamic, Dijon mustard,  pepper, and sugar.  Seal jar, and shake to mix.
  4. Divide the salad greens mixture into individual servings. To serve, sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese, and drizzle with the dressing mixture OR (feel free to throw enough salad dressing in the big serving bowl – toss and let it create magic). 🙂