Mail-Order Citrus Fruits By The Tangerine Man And Friend's Ranch

Load up on Ojai citrus all winter long

While we may no longer be threatened by scurvy, the winter season's beet-and-rutabaga produce monopoly still poses a very real risk of us losing our minds from boredom.

There's good news for our mental health, though: Ojai, California, where daytime February temperatures rarely dip below 60 degrees and the citrus trees are heavy with fruit. Hereafter, we'll refer to Ojai as Shangri-La.

For Valentine's day this year, you can share the valley's vitamin-rich treasures with your loved one. Jim Churchill, the Ojai farmer known as the "Tangerine Man" has recently begun shipping boxes of kishu mandarins nationwide; the seedless, walnut-size variety of Chinese origin is as rare and high-maintenance a fruit as you're likely to find Stateside. Churchill ships in quantities of either 9 or 25 pounds ($45 to $90, plus shipping).

Better than a chocolate sampler box is the variety offered by Churchill's neighbor, Friend's Ranch. Order now, and a box containing Meyer lemons, Bacon avocados and Murcott tangerines ($42 for 8 pounds, including shipping) could arrive on your doorstep before the end of the month.

If your sweetheart gets hooked–and who wouldn't–you can sign him or her up for three consecutive monthly shipments ($120, including shipping), which will keep the fruit supply high until spring arrives in your hometown.