November, 2011 – Fairhope, Alabama – Fruits and Nuts

Posted on November 18, 2011

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Fruits and nuts in Fairhope.

Now, now – it’s not what you might think at all.

In the days before the Causeway and Interstate 10 connected the eastern and western shores of Mobile Bay, boats regularly left the Fairhope pier loaded with locally-grown fruit and nuts destined for the shipping docksof Mobile.

Many other agricultural products were shipped from there as well, but it’s the fruits and nuts that had a lasting effect on Fairhope.

Drive around in the area near the Bay and you’ll see streeets named Fig, Pecan, Orange, Satsuma, Kumquat and others that hint at the products once grown in the area.

Other than pecans, about all that is left in any quantity are Satsuma trees, not so much in traditional orchards, but scattered around in people’s yards.

Satsumas are a sweet, seedless, relatively cold tolerant fruit resembling a Mandarin orange.  It’s loose, easily-peeled skin ranges from a mottled greenish color to the more traditional orange.  They thrive – more or less – in the Gulf Coast areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The “more or less” part means that during LA’s widely-fluctuating winter weather, you’ll often see Satsuma trees draped with sheets, blankets, tarps – anything to protect them from predictions of an unusually cold night.  Of course, after the winter sun warms everything up in the morning, it’s off with the covers, then on again for the next night.

November and early December is Satsuma season, and enjoying the juicy, fragrant fruit is part of the traditional celebration of fall in LA.

 

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Posted in: Travel - Alabama