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Celebrate citrus at Mountain Mandarin Festival

Popular event features tons of fresh fruit and more

Placer-grown fresh mandarins are plentiful this year. Buy them in bags or gift baskets.

Placer-grown fresh mandarins are plentiful this year. Buy them in bags or gift baskets. Photo courtesy Mountain Mandarin Festival

Here’s an annual event with plenty of local zest: The Mountain Mandarin Festival.

Starting Friday, enjoy the three-day citrus celebration at the 29th Mountain Mandarin Festival at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

“Live and in person,” proclaim the festival’s organizers. The popular event returned in 2021 after a year off due to Covid precautions. In 2019, the festival attracted more than 30,000 patrons over its three-day run and a similar crowd is expected this weekend.

“Placer County growers will sell thousands of pounds of fresh mandarin oranges and gift baskets, accompanied by all the free samples you like,” say the organizers. “Join in the fun with food, artisan crafts, and activities featuring the mandarin orange and music!”

This year, there will be plenty of fruit to enjoy. Tons of fresh Placer-grown mandarins are ready for the event as well as countless mandarin-related products.

Scores of farmers and other vendors will be on hand, offering their locally grown fruit and other products. Snack on mandarin-flavored treats. Enjoy live music and performances at the main stage.

“Thousands of filled orange mesh bags (of mandarins) await and jams, jellies, infused olive oils, balsamic vinegar, barbecue sauces and body care products are all available for purchase,” say the organizers. “Visitors are delighted to discover that the food vendors offer everything from mandarin pizza to mandarin glazed wings, mandarin doughnuts and mandarin pulled pork, just to name a few.”

In addition, Placer County master gardeners will staff a booth on Saturday and Sunday. Get your 2023 garden guide!

Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18; 9 a.m. to 5 pm. Saturday, Nov. 19; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

General admission is $10; children age 11 and younger are admitted free. Seniors: $7. Friday discount admission: $5.

Gold Country Fairgrounds is located at 209 Fairgate Road, Auburn.

For tickets and details: www.mandarinfestival.com.

-- Debbie Arrington

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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