Where can I find white grapefruit in Seattle?
November 26, 2018 5:25 PM   Subscribe

As I understand it, white grapefruit should be in season from roughly November to February, but in several years, I haven't been able to find it here in Seattle. Does anyone know of a reliable (or even occasional) source for the fruit in or near the city? A number of tiki drink recipes call for it specifically, and I'd like to recreate the original flavor of the libations.
posted by mboszko to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Not helpful to you, but I have not seen white grapefruit anywhere in the South for years and have wondered why for a while now. It seems like Ruby Reds are all that are commercially available anymore, but I would love to learn this isn't so.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 6:47 PM on November 26, 2018

Ive been looking for it for almost 5 years myself, not sure it has.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:11 PM on November 26, 2018

New Seasons in Portland carries them on the reg; worst case you could special order a case. Their citrus selection just in terms of sheer variety outmatches even some of the specialty produce stores here.

I see them somewhat regularly at larger Asian markets around here too.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:14 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

The early part of the season's harvest (right now through the end of December or so) mostly comes from California, and California mostly grows red and pink these days. You may have better luck in mid-January through February, when the Florida and Texas harvests are in full swing, because they grow more white grapefruit. But they have gotten rarer in the past five years or so, partly because red and pink are perceived as more profitable because they're sweeter and photogenic, partly because Florida's grapefruit industry has been having a rough time with storms and with citrus greening. (Grapefruit mature really slowly -- sometimes it takes more than a year! -- so bad weather can impact more than just one year's crop.)
posted by halation at 7:49 PM on November 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

My strategy would be to seek backyard gardeners. Maybe ask a random question in the Wanted section on Craigslist in southern CA. People do have them growing in their backyards and a few years ago my friend in Palm Desert had so many, he couldn’t even give them away. Maybe there’s a way for someone to ship you a few?
posted by oxisos at 8:16 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

have you tried asian grocery stores? (Uwajimaya, Viet Wah, H Mart?) If you can't find white grapefruit, would pomelos work?
posted by alathia at 10:00 PM on November 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks, all. I did not think to check the Asian markets — I will do that. As I’ve just read that a lot of the whites grown here end up in Japan, that seems a good possibility. A New Seasons just opened in my neighborhood, so I’ll try there too.

@alathia, how close is the flavor of a pomelo? I’ve certainly made the drinks with fresh pink/red grapefruit, and while good, my goal is to experience the flavor more common in the 1950s/60s, before the red got its big marketing push.
posted by mboszko at 3:19 AM on November 27, 2018

You could try emailing Sosio's Fruit and Produce at Pike Place Market. They're super nice and must be very used to people looking for unusual fruit. info@sosiosproduce.com
posted by belau at 5:49 AM on November 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

@mboszko pomelos are sweeter than the pink grapefruit, not sure how they are similar to a white grapefruit.
posted by alathia at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2018

@belau — Perfect! I emailed Sosio’s, and they have them right now. Still going to look at New Seasons, since it's much closer, and they're open later than 6pm on a weeknight.

@halation — Thanks for the detailed info!

@alathia — I don't think pomelos would work, since white grapefruits are less sweet and a little more bitter than the pink ones.

Thank you, everyone!
posted by mboszko at 1:42 PM on November 27, 2018

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