Inventory, lb : 0
Perfection tangerines are a small varietal, averaging 4 to 6 centimeters in diameter, and have a round to oblate appearance with a flattened base and small, sometimes protruding neck. The variety may vary in appearance, depending on the year, and has a thin, orange to dark orange rind when mature. The rind is matte, semi-smooth, and taut, covered in tiny oil glands creating a slightly pebbled, bumpy, and textured surface. Underneath the rind, there is little to no white pith, enveloping 12 to 13 segments of flesh divided by thin membranes. The saturated orange flesh is tender, aqueous, and succulent with a central hollow core, also being found seedless or containing a few ivory seeds. Perfection tangerines release a strong, refreshing, and bright aroma when peeled and have a balanced, sweet, and subtly tart flavor.
Perfection tangerines are available in the late winter through early spring.
Perfection tangerines, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, are a rare variety belonging to the Rutaceae family. The small but flavor-packed tangerines are exclusively cultivated and sold through Polito Family Farms, a grower based in Valley Center, Southern California. Perfection tangerines were named for their ideal characteristics: their vibrant coloring, easy-to-peel nature, and balanced, sweet, subtly tart flavor, creating a memorable eating experience. The variety was grown as an experimental cultivar for the University of California Riverside Citrus Breeding Program in the early 21st century. The fruits were favored for their rich taste, tender, juicy nature, and intense aroma. Despite their advantageous attributes, Perfection tangerines were never selected by the University's Citrus Breeding Program for commercial production, but Polito Family Farms chose to keep the trees, producing a rare and distinct variety. Since their planting, Perfection tangerines are grown as a specialty cultivar among select farmer's markets in Southern California and have won several taste tests among citrus enthusiasts and patrons of the Polito Family farmstands.
Perfection tangerines have not been studied for their nutritional content. Like other tangerine varieties, the fruits are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, fiber to regulate the digestive tract, and vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning. The variety also provides potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, calcium to build strong bones and teeth, antioxidants to guard the cells against the damage inflicted by free radicals, and other nutrients, including vitamin E, copper, magnesium, riboflavin, iron, B vitamins, and phosphorus.
Perfection tangerines have a sweet, subtly tart taste suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The variety is primarily consumed straight out of hand, valued as a rare tangerine, and enjoyed for its natural flavoring. Perfection tangerines are also peeled, segmented, and tossed into salads, added to fruit medleys, or stirred into grain bowls. The tangerine's juice can be stirred into salad dressings, added to sauces, or mixed into beverages. Try chopping the tangerines into salsa, ceviche, relishes, or bruschetta for a citrusy twist or infusing the juice into frostings as a bright enhancement. In addition to fresh preparations, the tangerines compliment savory and sweet dishes and can be added as a topping over seafood and roasted meats, simmered into jams, jellies, and marmalades, or mixed into stir-fries. Perfection tangerines can also be baked into crisps, cakes, scones, bread, and cupcakes, layered into parfaits, or blended and frozen into popsicles and sorbet. Perfection tangerines pair well with nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans, spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, peppery greens, avocado, herbs such as basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro, and seafood including shrimp, crab, scallops, and white fish. Whole, unpeeled Perfection tangerines will keep for a few days at room temperature and for 1 to 2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
Polito Family Farms was established in 1968 through the vision of Bob and Rose Polito. Mr. Polito was a retired doctor who purchased a ranch-style property in the 1960s in Valley Center, California. By the 1980s, the second generation of the Polito family, their son, also named Bob, joined the business and began working with the crops grown across the 70-acre property. The farm's orchards were initially filled with grapefruits, oranges, and avocadoes, but after connecting with other citrus growers and experts within the citrus industry, Bob, the son and current owner of the farm, recognized the need for unique citrus varieties with an emphasis on flavor. Bob was one of the first visionaries to plant various citrus varieties such as Clementines, Blood Oranges, Satsumas, and Oro Blanco grapefruits. Citrus production is a long-term business, as citrus trees traditionally take 3 to 5 years to bear fruit and around 5 to 8 years to reach full maturity. Once mature, the trees can survive for at least 30 years. This long-term production led Bob to foster lasting partnerships with citrus experts to plant varieties with quality flavor and desired growth characteristics. Bob also connected with the University of California Riverside's Experimental Citrus Breeding Program, and this fostered partnership eventually created Perfection tangerines. Over time, citrus cultivation has dramatically expanded in production, making it challenging for family-run operations to compete with mass commercial orchards. The influx of citrus varieties in retail markets has shifted consumer eating habits and altered the overall perception of citrus availability. Despite these changes, Bob and his wife Mary have continued the Polito Family Farms tradition of offering quality, full-flavored citrus varieties that consumers can look forward to each year. Polito Family Farms has developed lasting relationships with multi-generational consumers, offering a mix of classic citrus types with rare cultivars. Along with Perfection tangerines, the farm sells Tangelos, Clementines, Tom's Terrific, Gold Nugget tangerines, Valencia, Navel, Blood Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons, Satsumas, and Tangos. They also grow an assortment of avocados and fresh figs.
Perfection tangerines were created through the University of California Riverside's Citrus Breeding Program. The Riverside-based research facility developed Perfection tangerines from an undisclosed, natural cross using traditional breeding techniques. Budwood was sent to Polito Family Farms in the early 2000s and was grafted onto citrus rootstock within the family-run orchard. The experimental planting was evaluated for several years until the Citrus Breeding Program eventually determined that the variety was not commercially viable due to the fruit's small, sometimes irregular shape and the tree's alternate-bearing nature. Bob Polito, the owner of Polito Family Farms, decided to keep the trees and found that the variety was highly valued among their consumers for its flavor, regardless of the fruit's shape or limited availability. Bob named the experimental tangerines Perfection and continued to harvest the fruits, selling the tangerines as a specialty variety. Today Perfection tangerines are exclusively grown by Polito Family Farms in Valley Center, Southern California. When in season, Perfection tangerines are offered through the Santa Monica Farmer's Market and Venice Beach Farmer's Market in Los Angeles, and Little Italy Farmer's Market in San Diego.
Recipes that include Perfection Tangerine. One is easiest, three is harder.