Andrea Gómez Romero

The Ojai Pixie is an explosion of sweetness. Here’s where to get the cult-favorite tangerine, from markets to restaurant menus

Jessica Mordo  – April 16, 2019

Imagine a fruit so sweet, kids would turn down a plate of cookies in its favor. Not convinced such a thing could possibly exist? Then you probably haven’t ever tasted an Ojai Pixie.

The prized tangerine variety is grown in the unique microclimate of Ojai, CA (an aggie-meets-hippie enclave about 90 minutes north of L.A.). Super-hot days followed by cool nights give this citrus off-the-charts sweetness, making it the darling of farmers’ markets, natural food stores, and restaurant dishes around SoCal and beyond.

In Sunset’s April 2012 issue, Ken McAlpine waxed poetic about the power of the Pixie:

“To visit Ojai in April is to throw yourself into the juiced jaws of SoCal’s citrus culture, where the superstar of the moment is the Pixie. While most tangerine varieties have packed it in for the season, Ojai Pixies are at their peak. Farmers’ markets swell with them; restaurants and bars—even spas—tweak their menus to accommodate their influx; and all around the town of 8,000, a faint orange aroma sweetens the air. [sic] planted the valley’s first Pixie trees in the late ’60s, when they were introduced by citrus breeders from the University of California, Riverside. Today, a few dozen mom-and-pop farms grow 2 million pounds of Ojai Pixies a year. They’ll show up this month at Whole Foods Markets and high-end grocery stores from Tacoma to Tokyo. You can also find them at Yankee Stadium’s fruit stand. Petite Pixies in the Big Apple? Not bad for the runt of the tangerine litter.”

Seven years later, Pixie flavor is still going strong—and being that it is April, the citrus is currently at its peak. So run, don’t walk, to the following California markets to purchase your very own stockpile of Pixies:

SoCal Markets

Northern CA Markets

Oregon Markets

Washington Markets

Idaho & Montana Markets

SoCal Restaurants

A slew of SoCal chefs are featuring Ojai Pixies on their menus in a number of creative ways. Here are a few of our favorite Pixie-forward sips and dishes available now:

The Ojai Valley Inn’s bar is mixing a Pixie Margarita with a refreshing boost from fresh-squeezed Pixie tangerine juice, as well as the Shelf Road cocktail, a gin concoction with a nice balancing act from Pixie and lemon juices, rosemary simple syrup, and bitters.

Sean Pierce

Audrey at Hammer’s Citrus Salad is almost too pretty to eat.

Farther afield in L.A. at Audrey at the Hammer (the in-house eatery at the Hammer Museum), chef Lisa Giffen features the Pixie in her colorful Citrus Salad with Castelvetrano olives, rainbow radishes, and pecans.

At lauded L.A. cafe-bakery Fiona, pastry chef Nicole Rucker makes a stunning cake with whole, boiled Pixies, almond and corn flours, eggs, and sugar.