The entries were displayed on paper plates for everyone to see and taste, which was great because it gave me a chance to sample some varieties I had been considering. Unfortunately, there were no pummelos this year. I was hoping to taste Mato Buntan, but no such luck. Despite the crowd, I still managed to photograph and taste every entry. The key take-away information I came away from the tasting with was:
- The Cocktail grapefruit (actually a mandalo, or a pummelo x mandarin hybrid) isn't very good to my taste buds. I found it insipid with little flavor. The Oro Blanco, a pummelo x grapefruit hybrid, wasn't very good either.
- The Tarocco blood orange was better tasting than the Sanguinelli, although neither had any pigmentation. I think the other Moro they had displayed was misidentified, and was actually a Cara Cara. I also noticed a "Cara Cara" that looked suspiciously like a Moro, so I think there was a mix up.
- The Henderson grapefruit was outstanding, and better than all of the Rio Red and Ruby Red entries in my opinion. I'll definitely be grafting either Henderson (or the Henderson seedling selection Flame) onto one of my trees this year. The Bloomsweet grapefruit was also very good.
- The Changsha mandarin was surprisingly good. I was not the best tasting mandarin, but considering how cold hardy it is, I may have to consider finding a place for one.
After the tasting, Monte Nesbitt of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension gave a great presentation on citrus greening disease, and a fantastic monthly breakdown of citrus care throughout a typical year. I had a great time, got to meet some very knowledgeable citrus growers, and hang out with some other members of the Texas Rare Fruit Growers. I would have loved to enter the contest this year, but I had just turned all my lemons, calamondins, and kumquats into marmalade, and my ujukitsus weren't ripe yet. I'll definitely be entering next year.