A really good reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Of the many food-related things to love about December (constant stream of desserts in the office breakroom, having to “use up” leftover eggnog as a coffee creamer) none can compare with the onset of grapefruit season. Texans take this treasure for granted since we enjoy low prices (3/$1 sometimes!) due to our proximity to the Valley. I have met many a Northerner who professes to hate grapefruit, having only ever tasted the sour pale yellow cousin of our ruby reds.
We have the inspirational work of horticulturists to thank for this treasure. While you and I are plying our serrated spoons in pursuit of the juice, growers are busy testing budwoods and exotic rootstocks (Cleopatra mandarin, Swingle citrumelo) in hopes of creating better fruit with greater disease resistance (citrus tristeza virus, while having a romantic name, is not good). Of the 34,000 acres under citrus cultivation in the Texas Valley, 72 percent are grapefruit groves. Frankly, I believe it should be 100 percent. We can get oranges from Florida. From now until March, if you see a middled-aged woman staggering away from the HEB with what appears to be sacks and sacks of softballs, that’ll be me getting my Rio Star fix. I recommend only buying the small variety. Look for fruit that is “heavy in the hand” and skin that is shiny or almost oily for maximum sweetness and juiciosity.
After 10 years gardening on solid rock in Rollingwood, I moved into a 40's cottage in the North Loop area spring 2007. The little postage stamp yard is black clay and no one had ever dug a single flower bed. After visiting Key West a few years ago, I came back inspired by the little frame cottages, white painted railings, and rustling palm leaves. So the plan is: desert tropical cottage garden.