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Pixies got their start in Ojai thanks to one man

Editor's note: This article was updated March 29, 2017 at 4:13 p.m. to include additional information.
032817 aw pixie tangerines
Ojai Valley News photo by Ashley Wilson
The Pixie tangerine was developed in the 1920s, but didn't begin to take off commercially until a local farmer planted them in his East End orchard in 1980.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
Ojai's Pixie Month, otherwise known as April, can be traced back to 80 pixie trees Jim Churchill planted in 1980.
“My trees are among the oldest in the valley,” said Churchill, who will harvest 80,000 pounds of the Ojai Pixie growers' expected seven million pound crop for 2017.
“I’ve always liked tangerines. One day I tasted a Pixie tangerine over at Tony Thacher’s place and thought it was one of the best things I’d ever tasted. I asked Tony if he sold them and he said that he only had a few trees and by the time he was done picking his Dancy tangerines his kids had always eaten all the Pixies,” he recalled. “That seemed like a pretty strong endorsement to me, so I went and planted a bunch of Pixie trees in the blind faith that we would find a market for the fruit.”

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