I was at the grocery store in the canned fruits, wheeling my way by when a customer looked at me and said, “Did you see any mandarin oranges?”

“Sure, "I replied, "they are in this aisle.”

“I cannot find any that are not imported from China or elsewhere,” she explained.

I began reading the “where from” labels on cans. I had already done this with the frozen products and left some of them where I found them, but I had not looked that much on the canned items.

I am pleased that our favorite baked beans are Bush and they are in Knoxville. A friend of mine recently toured their plant and was impressed; she said it made her happy she bought their beans.

We use to tour places like that when we took our kids to Florida, when they were in grade school, and found it to be fun for them and also interesting. There was usually a treat after the tour of the produce they canned and shipped. I wonder now if we would have to go to China for such a tour. Ice cream dairy stores were always the favorite educational trip. The Mayfield Dairy Tour is a real treat.

The U.S. is not in the top 10 countries producing these mandarin oranges. The Republic of China is the largest producer and where the early seeds came from. They are now found in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and California. They were first introduce here in the 1840s in New Orleans and then into the other mentioned states. The mandarin we call a tangerine was so named as it first was shipped here from Tangiers, Morocco.

On a medical note this fruit is a good source of vitamin C and A, plus the Darcy tangerine contains more of the decongestant synephrine than any other citrus fruit.

The Giant Swallowtail butterfly relies on the citrus family for its larval food.

All these things I found out as I searched for a brand name company that was made here in the USA.

Sometimes I wonder about these conversations in grocery stores that send me on a search. I want to keep our citizens working any way I can, so I like to buy "Made in USA." I did find out that the Florida Natural Orange Juice is totally made in the USA. I looked at other kinds, and in fact my favorite, which admits on the neck of the bottle, that juices from other countries are also used.

The mandarin orange was named after the robes called mandarins the Chinese public officials wore when the initial gift was given.

Clementines, tangerines, and satsumas are all a type of mandarin oranges.

Like tea? There is a mandarin tea, but the only tea grown and packaged in the USA comes from Charleston Tea Plantation at Wadmalaw Island, SC; American Classic Tea. My mother use to say she wouldn’t trade being a mother for all the tea in China — wow.


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