Sharing the Kishu Mandarins

mandarins called kishu

These orange jewels you see in the photo above are kishu mandarins. David Karp calls them the mighty mandarin “the most delicious of mandarins”. They’re small, seedless, easy to peel and sweet. We call them citrus candy and you can’t just eat one. Because they’re so addicting, delicious and often hard to find, we decided to grow a tree a few years back. Since we’re a little nutty and crazy in the citrus growing realm, we decided to grow a second tree last year because we love kishu mandarins to no end.

Now, you see how beautiful they are this time of year? They’re exploding on the trees and so full of super sweet fruit, we’re dizzy with excitement.

Kishu Citrus Candy!

mandarin tangerines kishu

But then one afternoon we found this…… a thief, clenching a precious kishu. Upon first sight, the little bugger was perched on the wall next to the kishu tree, in the process of  peeling its stolen goods. As we neared with pups in tow, the kishu snatcher raced to a nearby tree, safely out of reach. Normally it would have chirped back at us, however obviously its mouth was too full.

To our shock, these garden thieves were feasting on our kishu mandarins and leaving the peels scattered all across the garden. So rude! Ok, so we’re totally cool with sharing with these critters, but to think that they loved the kishu mandarins as much as we do was a shock. So now what do we do? We start eating the kishu’s as quick as possible and leave the lemons for the squirrels. pttthbt!!!

And in the photo below, you see all this ripe fruit? They’re our super juicy fremont tangerines. The squirrels also seem to enjoy sneaking a few off the tree. So what do we do? Start picking and sharing them before these little beasts get to them!

A gardeners dilemma never ends.

Happy Weekend to you all.

hugs and love,

diane and todd……. and the squirrel *thief*

And here are our exploding Fremont tangerines. The squirrels better stay away!



{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. thefolia

    What a dream to have such a luscious citrus in your yard…happy harvesting to all!

  2. MP

    omg, been dreaming to have a citrus tree like yours, it’s awesome, I had grown a citrus
    in a big pot for more then 3 years, but they never flowers, wondering why? any suggestion

    1. alanna

      Usually when citrus doesn’t flower, it is because the soil is not acidic enough or they are not getting enough sunlight. If they’re outside, it had to be the soil. I have a lemon and a lime that I potted in a Peat heavily mixture and both produce plenty of fruit, even in NY.

  3. Pooja

    Would you be able to tell me what soil mix you are using I hav not been able to keep my tropical trees in good shape

    1. Todd & Diane

      Hi Pooja,
      Most of ours are in large planters we’ve built and filled with a general planter mix at a local wholesale building materials store. Some we’ve also used the bagged planter mix soil from the local hardware store. What we’ve found to be most important for our citrus is how much we feed them. Since they are always producing fruit, they need to be fed regularly. Once we started feeding more often, all of our citrus started thriving. Hope that helps.

  4. Kushal

    I love these small small oranges..!!
    In our village (India) also similar type of orange available in between rainy season and Winter in our village its called as illi fruit

  5. Catherine

    Love your website… and your beautiful potted meyer lemon. I live in LA and was wondering which local nursery you got your Kishu from? I want to pick one up!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We have gotten them from two different nurseries. One down in Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach. The other I think was at Green Thumb in Lake Forest. Many good nurseries should be able to order you one if they don’t have it in stock too. Good luck.

  6. Kelli

    I tried Kishus for the first time this year and they are amazing. Now if only I lived in a good citrus growing climate…

  7. Dani G.

    Great photos, and I love the squirrel too! It’s always fun stopping by for a visit and to see your glorious photography! xoxox

  8. Pratiba Bhat

    The little squirrel looks adorable. The fact that they peel the fruit and eat up the whole thing, sounds cute.

  9. Monique

    I saw your post right before mt trip to the Berkeley Bowl, where they had some! So glad, because I think I would never have gotten them otherwise! $$$ Good you have your tree, but they are worth it nonetheless! All your words of praise are true!

  10. Cristina

    Enjoyed this post – thank you for sharing about the kishu mandarins. They sound similar to my favorite commercial mandarins that are ever-so popular and deliciously sweet during the holidays. A timely post for me as I’m planning new fruit trees this year and am now on the lookout to add one of these “cuties” to our home. 🙂

    Couldn’t stop laughing about your little squirrel friend! I had a similar scenario last year when they ate all my beautiful Babcock peaches from my tree and only left a couple of pitts beside the tree as a stinger!

    Thanks again – love your blog and always look forward to your posts…

  11. Abbe@This is How I Cook

    I am envious! We fight squirrels and rabbits. Both love apples and plums and peaches but the rabbits are the worst. They eat every flower that springs up until there is nothing left. I am ready to hire a pair of coyotes!

  12. Cookin Canuck

    Those squirrels know a good thing when they find it. Those mandarins are beautiful. It’s as though they were just begging to have their picture taken…and then be eaten.

  13. sally

    Love these photos! I am a citrus crazy person, so I really appreciate your wonderful garden. maybe someday I will get to see it live. Don’t think I have ever have those little gems but I will know what to look for. Our navel orange tree went crazy this year and I’ve been sharing the bounty with friends and neighbors, plus eating lots ourselves. Wish I could figure out why my Meyer Lemon hardly produced this year. Maybe because last year was a big year. I may need your advice 😉 And the blood orange is still too young to do much. You have smart squirrels in your area!

  14. Jock

    I’m here in The OC. Any directions as to where I can buy a sampling of these Kishus? I called Gelsons and Albertsons here in CdM, however, both commented “Pixies” are not available as yet…too early!
    I grew up on Algerian Tangerines and would love to test one to the other…

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Jock- Yes, we saw them at the UCI (University California Irvine) Farmers Market on Saturday. It’s a great farmers market from 8am-12pm in the parking lot next to In-n-Out Burger. We saw a few farmer stalls that had the kishu mandarins!

      1. Dee

        I went to UCI farmer’s market on Sat but did not see any kishu…there were lots of satsuma oranges. Is satsuma and kishu the same thing?

        1. White on Rice Couple

          We were there this Sat. too and saw several vendors carrying them. It was at the beginning of the market, so maybe they sold out quickly.

  15. jaime @ sweet road

    Aw, I would love to have a beautiful mandarin tree in my backyard. I’m sure they taste delicious… when the squirrels don’t get to them, that is.

  16. Catherine McCord

    I think we’ve eaten 100 kishu’s this week alone. My son says they’re “the best orange ever”!

  17. Rhonda

    I have never tasted Kishu’s but have heard about them for a few years. I ordered my first box to be delivered in a couple weeks… Can’t wait to taste them!

  18. LiztheChef

    I think the kishu are the same as are Meyer lemons – the Rolls Royces of their class. Enjoy!

  19. deeba

    JUST SO BEAUTIFUL…and the little bugger is adorable! We have an exploding bush full of sour tangerines that are as pretty but far too sour! Yours look delicious!

  20. Maria

    Cute as they are, the numerous squirrels here in Seal Beach are quite pesky. Your post makes me grateful that our neighbors feed them pecan nuts (which they annoyingly bury all over our garden) because that is what probably keeps them out of our fruit and veggie produce!

  21. harveys mom

    just beautiful and they look so delicious!
    the squirels just love our fig tree and the grapes. its a battle between the birds, squirels and us, usually we’re a close third and oh yes the dogs love the figs also, we can’t win. with all this rain the citrus should be very happy. stay dry.

  22. Amanda

    I am aching to get some citrus growing! Is the kishu in a pot? Can’t tell. I know you keep quite a few of your fruit trees in pots. A total inspiration for this here aspiring albeit black thumb gardener. My fig tree (ha! invasive in California!) is still alive, so I feel like I’m *ready* to take the citrus plunge. Thanks for the inspiration, even if it is with thieves.

  23. Joy @ OSS

    These look absolutely amazing. I love citrus so much in the winter. With the flu that’s going around, the more vitamin C the better I suppose!

  24. Kristina

    Squirrels (and birds) ate all my persimmons this year. ALL of them. I feel your frustration. I’m surprised at how much citrus you have. It’s been such a cold winter we hardly got any Meyer Lemons and our neighbor’s orange trees don’t have as much this year either.

  25. Madi

    Can you please let us know where we can buy kishu mandarin trees to grow? Thanks so much.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      The best is to ask at your local nurseries. Many times a good nursery can special order something if they don’t have it in stock. Here in SoCal we’ve seen quite a few who carry it regularly now. Online, many gardening forums talk highly about Four Winds Growers, and they do carry the kishus.

  26. Herbivore Triathlete

    Gorgeous photos! I am totally jealous of the citrus grove, it has been 0 degrees here and snowing. Cute “thief”.

  27. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

    Can I come citrus picking :)?

  28. Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa

    Two things – that is the most beautiful fruit tree I have ever seen, and look at the nails/claws on that squirrel! Beautiful photos.

  29. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Animals seem to be able to source the most delicious stuff! Rabbits used to eat my dad’s raspberries which were in season for like 2 days where I grew up. He used to get so mad! Your citrus trees are gorgeous!

    And I saw your Pumpkin Creme Brulee on the HuffPo GF feature next to some cookies of mine. I am still craving pumpkin & molasses event though I should move on to citrus these days!

  30. jenjenk

    That picture of the squirrel made me laugh outloud!!!! On one hand, indignant for you…on the other, laughing.

    My grandparents had this in their backyard…i used to camp out under the tree & eat them until i was sick. it was awesome.

    I think i’m going to start referring to your backyard as “the orchard” or “the grove”. 🙂

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