In a contest for the best mandarin orange in Placer County held at the Mountain Mandarin Festival this past weekend, the fruit from Willow Creek Ranch in Penryn wowed the judges. The fruit was deemed a winner from the start, with easy peelability and the aroma released when peeled. The fruit was sweet and intensely flavored according to the judges.
Judges for the first competition to be held by the Festival were Cindy Fake, UC Davis Farm Advisor and internationally known citrus expert; Josh Huntsinger, Placer County Agricultural Commissioner; and Jennifer Montgomery, Placer County Supervisor for District 5.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the Festival enjoying the crisp fall weather and mostly blue skies. Willow Creek, as well as many of the other growers at the event, sold out of fruit early each day, while vendors of products featuring mandarins reported higher than average sales. The event not only celebrates the beginning of the Foothills' mandarin harvest, it also educates on the diverse use of mandarin oranges and the ease of home-growing mandarin oranges.