All over the state in California, our landscape is dotted with orange trees. Numerous commercial orchards are to be found as you drive through the state’s Central Valley. Furthermore, many of California’s residents grow citrus in their backyards – orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat, and tangerine. When I was a kid, my next door neighbors had a large orange tree. The kids on the block played a game with the oranges. We split into two teams – one team in each of the two backyards with a 6 foot plank fence between us. We would pick the oranges from the tree and chuck them as hard as we could, back and forth from yard to yard, and try to catch them. It was thrilling to look up and see flying oranges sailing across the sky as we scurried about attempting to catch them! GREAT FUN! Although I recall our parents not being to pleased with us!
I have two lemon trees – Myers and Eureka. Our climate is just perfect for growing citrus. Many of the citrus trees can be purchased in dwarf varieties such as my Myers lemon. I have planted it in a large terracotta pot and have placed it on my patio. The patio is so beautiful to look at with the potted dwarf Myers lemon tree with its colorful yellow orbs juxtapositioned amongst my outdoor furniture, colorful umbrella, and happy daffodils that are beginning to bloom.
After Christmas passes, and New Years behind us, it is time to harvest the citrus! February is finally the month I get outside and begin harvesting my lemons…and gratefully relieve my neighbors of their excessive bounty of oranges! My mind runs wild with possibility…what can I make with these delicious fruits?! Lemon Meringue Pie, Bitter Orange Marmalade, Orange and Avocado Salad, Orange Glazed Cake, Limoncello… the options are endless!
I have been busy cooking with the numerous orange varieties available to me and I have created some special dishes for you and my family. The photographs below are my images…as I am a commercial photographer who specializes in food. I have cooked and styled these shots which I thoroughly enjoyed. I toast to you and this year’s bounty of fabulous oranges with a glass of fresh squeezed sunshine! Salute!