Meyer Lemons for the Show

johnmerr(11)February 3, 2012

Here are some fotos of the Meyer Lemons enroute to Berlin for the Fruit Logistica Expo Feb 8-10; it is the biggest fresh fruit fair in Europe.

It all seems like a dream come true; but the truth is, it is all still a grand experiment; and this only the first small step in creating a new market. My ultimate dream is that the Meyer will one day replace the Eurekas, Lisbons, Bernas, at least in the kitchens and restaurants of the educated.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Very lovely, John! I am on your side - I think the Meyer lemon is the most amazing lemon of all lemons. I love how you're using the padded netting like they use for Asian pears, very clever to protect these thinner skinned lemons! Will cross my fingers for you, I hope that they're a huge hit! Are you going to the Expo, yourself? Wishing you much success, please let us know how you do!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 4:47PM
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johnmerr(11)

Patty,
No, I'm not going to the show; I am sending the lemons with our best fruit exporter of fresh fruits to European markets.
The netting is soooo inexpensive; and in addition to affording some protection in shipping, I think it gives the fruit an aura of high value. These lemons weigh on average half a pound; and are what we consider our gourmet grade; the "normal" average is 3 per pound and twenty fruits produce a liter of juice.
Compared to the ELB lemons, which are only graded US#1 and US#2 based solely on color, we are trying to create 3 grade standards for Meyers; namely Gourmet, Retail, and Manufacturing/Processing grades. Again, it really is still a grand experiment; luckily in the marketing and post harvest treatment there ARE experts we can rely on for help.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:03PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Fantastic!
I don't always use lemons...but when I do, I choose Meyer's ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:32PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

John those lemons look fantastic! great job!

Hi patty!

nice one josh! :)

mike

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:56PM
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johnmerr(11)

These are what we hope to market as Gourmet Grade, half a pound in size; we are expecting them to make news at the Berlin show, as no one else will have them. One of the big exhibitors will make all their lemon drinks for their cocktail with Meyer Lemons.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:06PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Gorgeous - you are on target with the netting idea, very clever!

Made our first batch of Rosemary Limoncello last year; came out very well. The fresh rosemary gives it a very different slant from the usual limoncello.

Shaping up to be a good first harvest in Northern CA this year, but we desperately need more rain or the season will end quickly again. We've been doing our rain dances here but it's just not working...it's been dry and sunny for too many days since November.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 11:35AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

...Whereas we've had some fantastic rain recently, just a little further up the road.

Keep doing those rain dances ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 12:29PM
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pgde(Tucson Zone 9)

Great pictures!! But, how do you extend the shelf lief of the Meyers? I have noticed that they go bad much faster than the ELB type of lemon (unfortunately) when picked and brought inside. And, good luck in Europe....

P.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 1:38PM
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citrange2

My ultimate dream is that the Meyer will one day replace the Eurekas, Lisbons, Bernas, at least in the kitchens and restaurants of the educated.
Unfortunately for your enterprise, I think this dream is unlikely to become reality.
I have grown Meyer Lemons myself here in the UK, and I have even bought a couple that had been exported experimentally from California. The trouble is, they aren't true lemons and they don't taste like true lemons. They lack that strength of flavour, that instant lemon tang, that is the beauty of the true lemon.
Meyers Lemons are pleasant, they peel easily and are noticeably sweeter and less acid than true lemons.
In the USA, it is said that the desire for sweeter fruits is constantly increasing. So the appreciation of acid ones is declining - note how the older 'bitter' grapefruit varieties are going out of fashion. Europe usually follows the US a few years later, so this trend will develop here too.
But lemons are not eaten like other dessert fruits. They are used as a flavouring, juice or the zest, that needs to cut through the other ingredients and provide that unique taste. Meyers lemons just can't compete!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 4:51AM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

citrange, I beg to differ (that Meyers can't compete). MLs are indeed quite different from traditional lemons in their acidity level, flavor, and aroma, and this is EXACTLY where their appeal lies. For example, in the Bay Area, celebrity chefs like Alice Waters (and now nationally like Martha Stewart) have used the Meyer's characteristic subtlety to great success. So I suspect that, as people learn to cook with Meyers - and there is definitely a different way to making use of MLs in food (have you ever tasted home-made ML curd - OMG!!!) - their use will only increase. I don't know if they'll ever fully supplant the traditional lemon, but I am certain that Meyers are here to stay and continue to gain in people's consciousness, and I can appreciate John's attempts to fill that niche...

John, a question for you. In your first photo, I noticed that your MLs are yellow, and one even has a tinge of green. I've always understood that the best flavor are gotten from fruit left on the tree until they've reached a golden/nearly orangey color. I use this as a judge in buying my MLs from Farmers Markets, Costco, Trader Joe's, or on-line (have you heard of Lemon Ladies Orchard?). Do your MLs get this deep golden color, or not (something in your warmer climate that might prevent this, perhaps)? Wishing you continued success on your ML endeavor.

Tim

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 12:27PM
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jcaldeira(Tropical - Fiji)

John, that's a beautiful display and nice lemons.

I'm surprised that the lemons achieved such a nice yellow color. They only get that yellow in Fiji's lowlands when they are overripe. How do you do it? Is your farm at a higher elevation? Ethylene gas?

John C

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:24PM
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johnmerr(11)

John C,

These lemons are the result of 10 years of learning; they are the most beautiful the world has seen. In fact these lemons are a bit too mature; but they are going by air to Berlin, so that is not a problem.
Generally, Meyers and other citrus need cool nights for the best color development. The lemons in the fotos were grown at 5,000 feet; but we have trees from sea level to 7,000 feet. Some get better color, some produce more or less; some grow faster or slower.

Tim,
Meyers are fully ripe and ready to eat before they get that dark golden color; the key is 8.5 Brix; if you leave them longer, the skin will get darker yellow; the fruit will get progressively less juicy (more concentrated); and the shelf life after harvest will be reduced. For garden growers the best plan is no plan; pick them when you want to use them and leave the rest on the tree; you will have lemons all year in hospitable climates.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 1:15AM
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