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The Cara cara navel, or red-fleshed navel orange is an early-to-midseason navel orange believed to have developed as a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel. Discovered at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela in 1976, the parentage is apparently uncertain enough to occasionally warrant the distinction of a mutation, with only the tree on which it was found—the Washington navel—being an accepted progenitor. Cara caras did not enter the U.S consumer produce market until the late 1980s and were carried only by specialty markets for many years thereafter.
This medium sized navel is sweet and low in acid. The flavor is more complex than most navel varieties and has been described as evoking notes of cherry, rose petal, orange, and blackberry.
From the major growing regions, South African Cara caras are ready for market starting in August, Venezuelan fruits arrive in October and Californian fruits make their seasonal debut in late November and are available through April.