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Produce Spotlight: Winter Citrus

Produce Spotlight: Winter Citrus

Posted January 5, 2018

Did you know that, in addition to our many farmer stands, Pike Place Market has seven independent produce highstalls? (Highstalls are named for their elaborate displays of sumptuous fruits and vegetables that were traditionally built higher up from the floor than the metal tables used by farmers.) Each of these businesses provide a large selection of fresh, high-quality and seasonal fruit and vegetables—both locally grown and from around the world. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy delicious and vitamin C-rich citrus!   

Fun fact: Before they can be considered a true heirloom variety, navel oranges need to have seed strains dating back at least 25 years!

For this spotlight, we talked to Jodi at Manzo Brothers, where she’s worked for the past 27 years. Want help deciding between a satsuma or a sumo mandarin? Can you really eat the skin of a kumquat? Jodi is your gal! Here are her takes on the best citrus and various uses for each of them.

California Blood Oranges

While not as sweet as their European counterparts, Californian blood oranges are beautiful and tart. They are best used in cooking—think vinaigrettes or as a flavor boosted to your favorite cocktail.

Cara Cara Oranges

Also known as pink navel oranges, Cara Cara are some of the best winter citrus available. Containing the lowest amount of citric acid—which gives these oranges their darker color—they are great for eating fresh. And because of their low acidity, they won’t give your stomach that sour feeling you might experience when eating citrus.


The sweetest part of these tiny citrus is the skin! Pop them in your mouth as-is, or use in marmalades, jams, cakes and more. Vary up your cocktail game and sub muddled kumquats in your favorite lemon drop recipe.

Jumbo Navel Oranges

If you’re a fan of fresh-squeezed orange juice, chances are it’s made with navel oranges. Winter is the best time to get your hands on this go-to citrus.

Satsuma Mandarins

Known for their easy-to-peel skins, Satsumas are sweet and delicate. The perfect packable snack for lunches, they’re best enjoyed on their own.

Sumo Mandarins

A newer hybrid of navel and satsuma, sumo mandarins are the best of both in one amazing fruit. The meaty, juicy and sweet flesh of the navel is married with the easy-to-peel skins of satsumas. Sumo mandarins aren’t widely available yet, but will be in the coming year or so thanks to patents pending on the variety.

In addition to Manzo Brother's, you can find a great selection of seasonal produce at:

  • Choice Produce, located on the corner of Post Alley and Pike Place
  • Corner Produce, located on the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place
  • Frank's Quality Produce, located on Pike Place between Pike Street and Post Alley
  • Sosio’s Produce, located in the Main Arcade next to Chukar Cherries
  • Lina’s Produce, located in the Main Arcade across from Papperadelle’s Pasta
  • Growing Washington, located in the Main Arcade across from the Athenian (Growing Washington sources only 100% organic from Washington state farms, so availability depends on the Pacific NW growing seasons.)