I adore lemons probably more than any other food, especially of the citrus group. I grew up in Arizona and always took lemons, well citrus in general, for granted. They were everywhere and always for free. Someone somewhere, either at work or in your neighborhood, had a lemon tree that just grew too many lemons.
Then I moved to Maryland and the the lemon party was over. WHAT?! How do these people live without lemons?! I didn’t even know it was possible. Lemons are worth their weight in gold here. The sad thing is, citrus in Maryland are generally in a sad state. By the time they are picked by the corporate Florida farms, then boxed, shipped to a distribution corporation, trucked to Maryland, distributed to the grocery store, wait in the grocery store cold room, make it to the shelves, to *finally* get picked by a customer, the citrus are dried and shriveled. It’s really quite sad. That should not be the life of a citrus fruit. The citrus you can find from the Farmer’s Markets are not much better, considering that they still have to get trucked to the farmers – and some of the farmers that sell year round do deal with distribution companies. After my upteenth dried out orange/lime/lemon, I have, for the most part, stayed away from citrus since I’ve been here.
Then I got depressed and homesick around February. It was another cold day. I needed a pick me up.
I needed lemons.
I did a search online and did a little research. A few of my requirements were direct delivery, no distribution centers, and a locally/family owned farm.
I came across Pearson Ranch California Oranges. Ok, ok, I know that California is not local to Maryland -BUT- it is family owned and not a huge corporate farm conglomerate. They are a conventional citrus farm, they specialize in direct delivery to their customers, and they have a lot of East Coast customers. They have a monthly lemon and orange club that you can join, they have combo citrus packs, and they also have a plethora of different citrus to choose from; from Pomelos to Meyer Lemons to Keffir Limes and Blood Oranges. If there is a citrus you want, they more than likely have it. However, they do go by seasons so do keep that in mind.
Farmer Tony is the owner and he is very acessible through email and Facebook. All of their employees are quick to respond and are very helpful – and – the most important thing, their citrus are delicious!