Cayucos Summer Oranges
- Melanie Wong Sep 11, 2011 12:55 PM
Last month Mom and I stayed in Cambria for 10 days while work was being done on her house. On one of our excursions to Morro Bay, I stopped at the Spencer's Fresh Market off of Hwy 1. In the bins outside near the entrance, I found a manager's special for Cayucos Summer Oranges and bought a bag. Wish I'd brought more home with me.
Cayucos Summer Oranges are a Valencia-type grown by the Miller Family (since 1987). Though labeled as seedless, I ran into a few seeds. But they are great oranges with deep flavor, sweetness, and full of juice. We enjoyed them cut into eight wedges for eating out of hand, fresh squeezed juice, or mixed for margaritas.
Another day, I spotted this citrus sale fundraiser at the Catholic Church in Cambria. I really had no idea that citrus was a local summer crop and wanted to clue in others like me to not miss trying them.
Spencer's Fresh Market
2650 Main St, Morro Bay, CA
Cayucos Summer Oranges
Cayucos, Cayucos, CA
Aren't they great? They're Valencias, which are the orange most commonly available in stores during the summer as Navels are usually gone by then (winter harvested oranges with the sweet bland flavor). Valencias are the orange grown for juicing, and they have a shorter season. Though slightly smaller than Navels, they pack a powerful flavor punch, with a bit of zingy acid to counterbalance the sweet.
Cayucos Oranges are the most intensely flavored Valencias I've had. The warm coastal canyons seem perfectly suited for producing a rich flavor. I lived a few years near Woodlake CA, a citrus region nestled into the Sierra foothills east of Visalia, and Cayucos oranges are so much more flavorful. Even this year with all the rain we had.
Last Sunday I bought some organic, unpasteurized Cayucos orange juice grown by Old Creek Ranch in Cayucos at the Live Oak farmers market in Santa Cruz. The flavor was much leaner, and while sweet, this juice was not nearly as full and sweet as the juice I squeezed myself in August. I did ask the seller what the season was for Cayucos summer oranges. He said it was quite long, that there would be a gaps of a few months in the winter and early spring.
Old Creek Ranch
12520 Santa Rita Rd, Cayucos, CA 93430