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Mountain Mandarin Festival celebrates local crop

Popular event features tons of fresh citrus and more

Fresh mandarins, of course, are the stars of the Mountain Mandarin Festival, but the event also features music, crafts and food booths.

Fresh mandarins, of course, are the stars of the Mountain Mandarin Festival, but the event also features music, crafts and food booths.

Courtesy Mountain Mandarin Festival

It’s mandarin season. If you crave those little citrus gems, there’s no better place to soak up some local flavor than this weekend in Auburn. The 30th annual Mountain Mandarin Festival returns to the Gold Country Fairgrounds with the pick of the crop – rain or shine.

Friday through Sunday, Nov. 17-19, enjoy the three-day citrus celebration including tons of just-picked fruit. The family- and foodie-friendly event usually attracts about 30,000 people over its long 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. Shop mandarin-inspired gift ideas and decorations. For extra zest, listen to live music and performances at the main stage.

In addition, the Placer County master gardeners will staff a booth all three days. Get your 2024 garden guide and calendar! The theme: “Try Something New … Ever Changing Gardens.”

Want to grow your own citrus? The master gardeners will offer advice on growing mandarins and all their citrus cousins as well as other fruit trees. Get advice on planting bare-root roses and winter vegetables, too. As an extra bonus, get free seeds (while they last).

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 pm. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

General admission is $12; children age 9 and younger are admitted free. Seniors: $8. Friday discount admission: $7. No pets admitted.

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

For tickets and details:

-- Debbie Arrington


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For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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