Several years ago my family realized that the product of our backyard Meyer lemon tree was more that we could productively use. We’ve made Meyer lemon cake, muffins, scones and other baked goods. The kids have orchestrated several Meyer lemonade stands. The best home use by far is a Meyer lemon marmalade recipe that will bring succulent life to even the most tired piece of toast.
Alas, even this font of creative uses could not exhaust the tree’s bounty. This led to an enterprising courtship of several local Berkeley fine food purveyors.
We first took our lemons to the Phoenix Pastificio, then on Shattuck Avenue and now located on Addison, who turned a lovely lemon black pepper ribbon pasta. Then we migrated to Ici Ice Cream on College Avenue to see what Pastry Chef Mary Canales could do with our lemons – we were not disappointed – Meyer lemon ice cream is good. The last several years we’ve been pleased to supply Chez Panisse where the pastry chefs make a variety of desserts including a perfectly sweet candied Meyer lemon peel.
This year my daughters and I rolled the 86 pounds of extra lemons around the corner on the back of our family Xtracycle cargo bicycle. Since my daughters are cute, the Xtracycle is about as cool as a cargo bike gets, and the lemons are perfect we were treated to a fantastic impromptu kitchen tour and sampling immediately before the first dinner serving – a rare treat indeed.
As a landscape designer and builder I greatly appreciate the myriad gifts this tree has given – beauty, bounty, and priceless engagement with a creative and talented community.
Plant a fruit tree and take good care of it and you will not be sorry. Here are other local ways that you can give back when you cannot eat it all: