Meet Steven Green of Green Groves. His day job is professor of tropical biology, conservation and statistics at UM. He also has a two and a half acre grove of various fruit trees. The cute little clementines from a couple weeks ago were his. This week we have lemons from his grove. Steve doesn’t know the name of the variety but does know it was planted in 1938. He says their flavor is “much brighter and more flavorful,” than your average supermarket lemon, and the fruit has a moderate amount of seeds and thick skin.
Steven grows lemon, lime, carambola, calamondin, allspice, monstera, avocado, tangerine, 5 kinds of mango, and lychee. He has been growing fruit since he moved to Redland in 1978, when he bought a 2 1/2 acre avocado grove with trees planted originally in the 1930s. There are still a few of those left, including the lemons. In 1991 Steve planted lychees, but Hurricane Andrew knocked them all down the following year. Putting his scientific knowledge to good use, Steve replanted 125 lychee trees at what he calls the “optimal distance” for orb weaver spiders. They prefer a span of about 2 meters from branch edge to branch edge for their webs. Once the spiders made their webs and settled in, there have been no problems with caterpillar moths in the groves. Lychees have so few pests, Steve says, that he doesn’t used pesticides in his grove. He’s now in the process of getting the grove certified organic.
When Steven has way too many lemons, he makes this North African lemon preserve:
Cut the lemon into quarters, bury in kosher salt, add chilis (optional).
Can take out spoonfuls of liquid to cook with.
Store salted lemons in frig.