Meyer Lemon Abundance

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. DSC_0052

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:

Flat Pop Up Parklet @ East Bay Bicycle Coalition 40th Anniversary 11/16

The “Flat Pack Pop Up Parklet” will be the centerpiece of the “Biketopian City of the Future” at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s 40th Anniversary Party at Jack London Square in Oakland.

Come support the East Bay Bicycle Coalition in their efforts to make the East Bay a bicycling utopia.

Thanks again to Livable Berkeley to supporting this project.

The Flat Pack Pop Up Parklet @ Berkeley Sunday Streets Oct 14, 2012

Streetfilms captures Berkeley Sunday Streets brilliantly and as a bonus there is a nice sequence highlighting the “Flat Pack Pop Up Parklet.” See minute 2:40 to 3:22.

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Berkeley Sunday Streets is fast approaching on October 14, where I will have my “Flat Pack Parklet” installed at  on the 1600 Block Shattuck Avenue in front of Philz Coffee and Guerrilla Cafe.  Please stop by and see it in action.

  • Livable Berkeley sponsored this project both in concept and financially.  I would not and could not have completed it without their support.  Please support their efforts to make Berkeley great here.

The Parklet phenomenon pioneered by REBAR Art and Design Studio in San Francisco has spread globally.   Many San Francisco Bay area designers and builders have contributed their talents to this movement and I did not want to miss out!

All parklets are designed and permitted as a “temporary” or “pilot” use of the parking lane on public streets.  But, not surprisingly, everyone wants a fabulous parklet and since as mentioned above the caliber of San Francisco Bay Area is very high – parklets are increasingly constructed of gorgeous and expensive materials.  There are many examples but the Audi-sponsored parklet designed by Walter Hood and installed on Powell Street in San Francisco is perhaps the highest expression of the form.

So I thought, what if we could create a beautiful Flat Pack – Pop-Up  “demonstration” parklet from something inexpensive and easy to work with?

Enter plywood – one of my favorite materials to experiment with and the darling of many designers from Alvar Aalto to our local Eric Pfeiffer.

I had the good fortune of making contact with another genius of plywood design and fabrication  – Rob Bell –  when seeking a shop to CNC mill this project for me.  Anyone who has attended or read about Burning Man, has likely seen Rob’s iconic zome structures.   They are truly beautiful.  Rob helped me fine tune my design and milled it for me.

Keep the Flat Pack Pop Up Parklet in mind for your neighborhood:

  • The “Flat Pack Pop-Up Parklet”  is designed for fast assembly and disassembly.
  • It is intended to here for a day, there for a day
  • It snaps together “just like that” yet the solid construction lends a sense of solidity and feels like a bonafide “temporary” installation.
  • If you wish to experience how a parklet would influence street life in your neighborhood get in touch with us and we’ll talk!