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FARMERS MARKET

Deliciously sweet-tart

January 10, 2007|Russ Parsons

Peaking

Oroblancos: With an almost ideal balance of sweet and tart and a delicious piney flavor, the Oroblanco is a favorite grapefruit of many farmers market shoppers. Except that technically it's not a grapefruit but a cross between a grapefruit and a pummelo. Introduced in the 1980s, the Oroblanco has had a checkered history commercially. At first it was praised as being California's answer to Texas' ruby and pink grapefruits (it was developed at UC Riverside). But it turned out that in the early part of its season, even though the fruit was ripe, it could still have a deep green peel. This turned off buyers, and gradually farmers stopped planting the trees. But then a funny thing happened: Israeli farmers starting putting in Oroblancos, calling them "Sweeties" and making that green color a selling point. And they started exporting them to Japan, where the sweet fruit found an eager audience. Now, plantings in California are again on the upswing.

$1 each, various vendors.

-- Russ Parsons

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