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Citrus Variety Collection on Display at Orange Blossom Festival

UCR Citrus Variety Collection Display and Tasting Remains One of the Most Popular Attractions at the Riverside Orange Blossom Festival

(April 9, 2003)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- One of the most popular booths at the annual Riverside Orange Blossom Festival is the UC Riverside citrus display and fruit-tasting booth which exhibits UC Riverside's renowned citrus variety collection. This year the festival takes place on April 12 and 13, 2003 in downtown Riverside. The UC Riverside booth will be located in the Breezeway in front of City Hall.

Each year, visitors to the fruit-tasting booth have the opportunity to sample many of the collection's finest citrus varieties. "We had more than 50,000 visitors to our booth last year," said Tracy Kahn, senior museum scientist in the department of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside and one of the driving forces behind the UC Riverside booth at the festival. "Many fans come back each year to taste the fruit. Our booth is also immensely popular with children. We have 40 citrus varieties on display this year, 30 of which the public will get to taste."

Because of its enormous popularity, the UC Riverside fruit-tasting booth is a favorite with volunteers at the festival. "The success of our booth depends on a tremendous amount of volunteer power and we are always thankful for the help and dedication of our volunteers," said Kahn. All volunteers at the booth receive an official festival tee shirt in the signature orange color.

In total, nearly 180 volunteers will staff the UC Riverside fruit-tasting booth this year. While some volunteers will answer the public's questions about the citrus collection, others will hand out free samples to visitors. A team of volunteers will handwash all the fruit on display.

Popular fruit this year are expected to be Shasta GoldTM, Tahoe GoldTM, and Yosemite GoldTM mandarin hybrids.

"Most of the fruit in our booth comes from the UCR Citrus Variety Collection," said Kahn. "For this year, we have two walk-in coolers filled from floor to ceiling with fruit, so there'll be plenty of samples to hand out to the public. As before, we are very excited about participating in the festival. This is a homegrown event. For many, our booth, which lends the Riverside Orange Blossom Festival a strong citrus flavor, has become the main citrus attraction at the event."

The Citrus Experiment Station and its Citrus Variety Collection were established in Riverside in the early 1900s to support the needs of the developing citrus industry in Southern California. Over the years, the world-renowned Citrus Experiment Station became the foundation of the Riverside campus of the University of California and has remained at the forefront of agricultural research, and especially citrus research.

Today UCR has expertise in many disciplines, yet the Citrus Variety Collection, consisting of two trees each of approximately 900 different citrus types, remains one of the premier citrus germplasm collections in the world and a valuable university resource.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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