As far as I can tell, the citrus of northern California is bad. While this is true of blood oranges, navel oranges and other citrus, my jeremiad focuses on satsumas. I've tried all of the satsumas and clementines sold at the Ferry Plaza Saturday market over the last two seasons and they are, except for the produce from one farm, lacking in the requisite abundance of sweetness, tartness and acidity. A good satsuma has a tender skin (not peel), gives off a marvelous fragrance when peeled, and dances on the tongue like champagne. These simply do not exist in northern California, except when the wonderful farmers at Fairview Garden drive them up from Goleta, as they've done the last few weeks for the Ferry market. But delicious as those satsumas are, they are not locally produced. They reach me (as do the amazing dates from Thermal sold nearby) at great expense of gasoline, which bothers me.
There was a guy who sold very good satsumas and clementines at the market last season. He set up heat lamps in the spot next to that currently occcupied by the Fairview folks. What has become of him? I miss him. I want him to sell me fruit. I want to find out that he grows it within twenty miles of San Francisco. I am a dreamer.
The satsumas and clementines sold at the Santa Monica farmers market on Wednesdays are almost without exception divine.