Once upon a time I embarked upon my new adventure knowing nothing of this strange new land, knowing nothing of what was to coming, and knowing nothing of how I would support myself. (Not unlike the previous blind step I had taken when moving to Idaho.) No worries, I thought, this time it is an island of plenty. I’ll just eat the fruit that has fallen by the wayside.
I was so young.
The trick to local produce is always to know a local. It took me a while, but I got myself a good one. She left bags of stuff on my desk in the morning. Some of the bounty I hadn’t had in years, others I had never seen before. I asked her more than once how I was to eat a particular item. She always made it seem like a favour to her: they were rotting in her yard, her friend’s yard, her neighbour’s yard, her mother’s . . . you get the idea. I’m sure I didn’t eat all the fruit, and that much of it went to waste.
I was so young.
Now, five years into our life in California it is happening again. My personal fruit harvest is pretty paltry (one orange this year,) but my local friends are faring much better. While house-sitting this summer I enjoyed tomatoes off-the-vine. Most recently I’ve been the recipient of two bags of lemons, a bag of meijer lemons and some green things I’d never seen before (no, they are NOT limes) but taste just as sweet.
I am older now. I know what I’m doing.
Lemon chicken, butter cookies with lemon curd, and real, made-from-scratch lemon squares…
My hands will be grateful when the lemons run out, though. Each tiny little crack in my skin is burning. I really need to buy one of those citrus squeezer thingies…