Tangerines, like all citrus fruits, are not native to Brazil, but they have adapted well to growing conditions in this country and are one of the most commonly available fruits year round. Brazil is the third-largest tangerine-producing country in the world, being surpassed only by China and Spain. The annual harvest is about 1.2 million tons per year, and most of the production is consumed domestically.
Today, the tangerine has at least the following names in Brazil (there are probably more):
- In the south of Brazil, in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, it's called bergamota or vergamota
- In the southeast, in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, it's known as mexerica
- In the northeast, the local name is laranja-cravo (clove orange in English)
- In the states of Piauí and Maranhão, it's a tanja
- In the city of Curitiba be becomes a mimosa
- In the central-western states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, it's called poncã
All of which makes the English-language nomenclature - tangerine, mandarin, clementine - quite simple and straightforward, doesn't it?
However you call it, and wherever you eat it, though, an easy-to-peel, cold, sweet tangerine is one of the most refreshing fruits on earth, in Brazil or anywhere else. It's no wonder that million-plus tons of tangerines cultivated every year in Brazil never makes it to the export market.