Even in the age of easy to peel Mandarin popularity, I still love a really good Navel Orange. When I get a “good one” – sweet, juicy, flavorful yet not too acidic – it makes smile to myself and hope the next one will be just as good.
California Seedless Navel Oranges remain in peak season and are great for snacking during late Winter and early Spring. But if you want to improve your likelihood of a great Navel eating experience – look for Heirloom Navels.
What exactly is an Heirloom Navel? They look just like other Navel Orange, but these are actually Navel Oranges picked from “old line” orange groves in the San Joaquin Valley – usually Washington variety Navels grown with the similar culture (plant and tree care, and harvesting techniques) used 100 years ago. In fact, many of the trees are a century old. The rootstock, soil and growing methods create a fabulous eating experience that might make you say, “Oh, that was a really good orange! Sweet!”