THE BLUSHING STAR OF TEXAS CITRUS
In the chilly middle of winter, fresh citrus arrives from the Rio Grande Valley, adding sunshine and color to Texas tables. There are navel oranges and Meyer lemons, but the superstar is the Texas red grapefruit—the official state fruit. It is believed that Spanish missionaries brought the first citrus seeds to South Texas. The first grove plantings were white grapefruit varieties, followed by pink varieties. The accidental discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink grapefruit tree gave rise to the Texas red grapefruit industry. In 1929, the state’s “Ruby Red” grapefruit was granted a U.S. patent. Today, Texas produces 27,000 acres of citrus annually. According to TexaSweet, the growers’ marketing group, the Rio Red and Star Ruby, known collectively as Rio Star, are the sweetest, reddest and juiciest varieties on the planet. Sweet, indeed.