Pixie Tangerines

Photo by Vickie Pearson

Ojai Pixies are not sold under trade names!  We are not Cuties, Halos, Sweeties, Delites or Smiles– we are Ojai Pixies; that is, Pixie tangerines grown in the Ojai Valley.  Ojai Pixies are grown by a dedicated group of farmers working on small family farms.  We grow and market our own fruit. We have been doing this since the early 1980’s.  We make up less than one percent of the California tangerine crop, so enjoy the season while it lasts!

If you are interested in learning more about citrus varieties we suggest looking at the University of California Citrus Variety collection webpage. There are thousands of varieties of citrus, the Ojai Pixie is just one.

Pixie tangerines are pale orange colored, moderately juicy and always seedless. Individual Pixie tangerines vary in shape, size and peel texture. In general, Pixies are small (1-3 inches in diameter), have a pebbly skin and are easy to peel with segments that separate easily from one another.

Pixies ripen in the spring from the previous years bloom.  It takes 11 to 15 months for a blossom to grow into a ripe piece of fruit. Our little Ojai Pixies are therefore on the trees during California’s winter months and as they are small, they are quite susceptible to frost.

Worldwide there are hundreds of tangerine (or mandarin) varieties which vary greatly in seasonality, shape, color, juiciness, seediness, ease of peeling and flavor. Pixies are a late-season variety, ripening in March and April whereas early-season tangerines such as Satsumas ripen in November and December.

The Pixie tangerine was developed by Howard B. Frost at the University of California Citrus Research Center at Riverside in 1927. The Pixie is a result of open pollination of Kincy mandarins (Kincys are a hybrid between a King Mandarin and a Dancy Tangerine).

Pixie Tangerines have been around since the mid-1960s, when they were released to the public by citrus breeders from the University of California at Riverside. Because of their small size, their habit of bearing a large crop one year and a small crop the following year, and their late season, they were not thought of as a commercial fruit. However, a group of growers in Ojai, California discovered that Pixie Tangerines grown in Ojai are wonderfully delicious. They are now available in grocery stores all over the country, as well as farmer-direct in southern California.