1/7/09 Food Section of San Diego Union
Why are there seeds in my seedless Mandarin?
There has been a tug of war in the past few years. On one side, orange growers, on the other side, Mandarin growers. You see, orange trees need bees for pollination. That's how we get orange honey from the beekeepers. If you visit the orange goves of California during blossom time, you will notice white bee hives surrounding the groves.
Well, Mandarins don't need to be pollinated by bees. In fact, Mandarin growers don't want any bees around. If you pollinate a Mandarin, like a Satsuma or a Clementine, you end up with seeds in the fruit. Mandarin growers don't want seeds. It makes them mad -- and makes it more difficult to market their Mandarins as 'seedless'.
Many Mandarin orchards are right next door to orange groves, so if there are bees in the orange trees, those bees tend to travel over to the Mandarin trees as well, and you get seeds. Mandarin growers have been trying to keep their orchards away from orange groves, creating buffer zones.
When you find a seed in a Satsuma or Clementine, then you know that fruit came from a tree that was close to an orange grove. Don't worry, you're still enjoying a delicious citrus fruit.
Ann in San Diego
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