Arlo Mudgett: The View from Faraway Farm: It's the results that matter

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I like clementines. When I first started enjoying them they all seemed to come from Spain or Morocco. I wasn't really sure what they were, but unlike oranges, I could eat a lot of them and not get crippling indigestion. The last seven or eight years I've just bought the occasional box of them at the supermarket when they are in season. However, after suffering a nasty cold in December into January, I have consistently purchased clementines every week. If the store didn't have those Moroccan or Spanish clementines I would buy Halos, which is a brand that I just wasn't sure about. However, I've been consistent with this citrus fruit for the entire winter and some interesting things have happened. I feel better.

I started looking into the benefits of clementines, and one of them is better digestion. I've been experiencing that. The fiber intake with clementines has been more consistent for me, and that has contributed to better health. I noted that clementines are reputed to have a lower level of acidity than oranges, and my experience bears that out. I can't even drink orange juice without suffering for a day or two with unbearable indigestion. Not with the clementines. Another reported benefit of eating clementines is improved clarity of mind; with me, that can change from day to day, so I can't speak to that attribute, but it has been a productive time of late.

Clementines are a hybrid that came about in the 19th century. It was developed in the garden of Brother Marie-Clement's orphanage in Algeria, where its name was derived as well. They say it is a cross between the Willowleaf mandarine and a sweet orange. Clementines made it to California around 1914, so it isn't something that's been around for eons.

Depending on where the fruit is grown, the season goes from November to maybe as long as April. Personally, I wish they were available year-round because I'd easily consume two or three per day to maintain my current state of good health, but it isn't meant to be.

The first time I tried Halo's from California I wasn't impressed. This year I'd buy them when I couldn't find Bagu's or some other Moroccan clementine. I've developed a real liking for Halo's and wondered if they were exactly the same as a Moroccan clementine. Evidently, Halos are a type of mandarin, and that all depends on what time of year it is. At various times Halo's are W. Murcotts, another type of mandarin. Did I mention that Halo is actually a brand name? Oh yeah, and then there are Cuties. Another brand name. The Halo and Cutie names were both brand's of one California grower, the company did some sort of split, and Cutie went with a new entity and Halo was created to replace the name with the original company. Confused yet?

You can actually figure out what they are by what is available when. The original clementines are an earlier fruit, and by the time the W. Murcotts hit the stores the season is nearing its end. This can all be broken down to early clementines, clemenules, (whatever those are) late mandarins and W. Murcotts. So I am assuming that brand names were an attempt to avoid confusion about these varieties, but even the brand names can be different things at different times. Like anything sold in supermarkets, there is fierce competition for display position and shelf space, so unless you are a produce manager at a supermarket, good luck figuring all of this out. Your best bet is to try them all and settle on your favorites.

Now that I've found a genre of citrus fruit that I can tolerate I fully intend to try them all and continue to consume them until they stop showing up in the stores. After that, I'll be researching ways to supplement the diet with fruits that approximate the benefits of clementines, mandarins, and W. Murcotts. I have a feeling there will be much more to learn, but when you find something that works, stick with it because in the end its the results that matter.

Arlo Mudgett's Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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