What is a Meyer Lemon?

What is a Meyer Lemon?

 

 

 

 

Though they’re now found throughout Florida, Meyer Lemons are actually not native to the sunshine state. So where’d they come from? Meyer Lemons were first brought to the United States in 1908 by Frank N. Meyer. An explorer of sorts, Meyer worked for the USDA, traveling the globe in search of economically viable plants to introduce to the States. Among his discoveries were apricots, soybeans, the maidenhair tree, and of course, the Meyer Lemon, which was named in his honor.

In the decades since its introduction, the Meyer lemons have enjoyed lucrative obscurity. The fruits themselves are relatively fragile given their thin, easily pierceable skin and thus proved difficult to ship piecemeal. They remained for a time somewhat sequestered to California, Florida, and the other citrus-growing states where they were cultivated both for large scale consumption as well as locally in backyards for personal use.

The trees are currently experiencing a resurgence in demand, due in part to their popularity with celebrity chefs, and are once again gracing windowsills across the country as they once did in their native China. Seasonally, the fruit is available in stores between December and May. With Via Citrus, Meyer lemons can be enjoyed all year round.

Meyer lemon trees are excellent additions whether you plan to utilize their fruit or merely need one for the 'gram'. The plants have a long history as ornamental house plants. They were originally bred by mixing lemon and mandarin plants, a combination that gives the fruit its eye-catchingly golden color. Like most citruses, the plants also have glossy green leaves and a bounty of white blossoms. Meyers in particular bloom all year round, perfuming the air with sweetness.

The lemons themselves are smaller, rounder, and generally less bulbous than regular lemons. Meyer lemons have a deeper yellow rind, almost like an egg yolk, and a similar dark pulp. Their skin is smooth and thin with less of the spidery white pith underneath, making it much more enjoyable and thus edible than regular lemon rind. Taste-wise, Meyer’s are less acidic and don’t carry the tang of regular lemons. This resulting sweetness makes them ideal for raw preparations. Their fragrance is also truly unique, coming closer to an herbal earl grey smell than other typical citruses. This floral scent is one of the reasons the Meyer is a great addition to food.

It’s hard not to instinctively compare the Meyer lemon to its close cousin the regular lemon when considering cooking it. Sure, they look similar enough and they share some genealogy, but what about in the kitchen? Can one be swapped for the other? Broadly speaking, yes. Meyer lemons and regular lemons are somewhat interchangeable. It's in more poignant applications that make the Meyers individual characteristics sing. Meyers natural sweetness and almost spice-like quality make it the perfect addition for roasts, compotes, cakes, teas, and even pasta dishes. They've proven worthwhile additions to what might be preparations traditionally assigned to and dominated by the lemon— bars, tarts, juices, and rubs— however, each can be enhanced with Meyer lemons if only you’re brave enough to try it.

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Charles Todd
Plant Parenthood: When to Water

These days most people need a stainless steel, double-walled, vacuum insulated water bottle just to help them remember to drink their recommended two liters a day. If we can’t water our persons, what hope do our house plants have? Luckily, there are several easily integrated habits that will help you get better at keeping your plants healthy.

First, it may help to understand why your plant needs water in the first place. Like all living things, plants need water to survive. Specifically, water helps structure plants by keeping cells plump and rigid. This is why under-watered plants appear wilted they’ve lost the water that was keeping them up and as a result are curling at the tips or turning yellow. Water is also used in the photosynthesis process. In addition, it helps transports mineral throughout the plant as well as cools it through evaporation.

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Like all living things,

plants need water to survive

Water is a vital part of your plants life and it is important to maintain a good balance. Over- and under-watering are actually two of the most common mistakes people make when caring for their plants. There should be both air and water in the soil. If the soil is too dry, the water will run right through to the bottom. If it’s too wet, the roots can rot and you will see entire leaves drooping over. This can be avoided by simply monitoring your plants appearance as well as its soil.

Plants absorb water from the soil through a process called osmosis. By testing the soil around your plant with your finger, you can tell by the texture of the top layer if your plant is due for more water. If the first inch down from the surface are still moist, you can generally leave off watering for a while.

It also helps to know what you’re growing. Our citrus trees are going to adapt much differently than succulents, cacti, orchids, fiddle leaf figs etc… everything has their own preferences. Take some time to get to know your plant. Pay attention to how it reacts to your home. Think: where would it grow in nature? How different is that environment from where the plant is now? Remember that Florida is hot and humid and bright and stormy. In your home, will your plant experience seasons? Only artificial light? Lots of humidity? If you relocate your plant, will any of these factors change? A good rule of thumb is to simply pay attention.

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Keep in mind:

Location, location, location

Other important details that may help demystify water retention and loss are:

  • -the pot size and the amount of soil affect watering needs
  • -the plant’s age and condition
  • -the type and duration of light it’s exposed to
  • -the type of material it’s housed in, both pot type and soil composition

Depending on the circumstances, your plant will lose water at a different rate and once you’ve decoded that, you’re well on your way to a house full of happy plants.

As always, if you have more questions, DM us on Instagram or email Charley@viacitrus.com
Happy Growing!

Charles Todd
Plant Parenthood: Pet-Proof Your Plants

Sometimes all it takes to raise a healthy plant is space, sunlight, water, and a little love. Other times, it takes a little more effort to create the ideal environment for your citrus tree. This is why we’re presenting: “Plant Parenthood”, our troubleshooting blog series. Here we’ll tackle everything from basic care to disease-prevention, pruning, and replanting with the goal of helping first time plant parents and green thumbs alike with their citruses.

As excited as you may be to welcome a new tree into your space, your pet may not be as accommodating. Pet-owners turned plant-owners might find themselves with spills of potting soil and bite marks on leaves. Cats in particular are known to make a starter salad out of houseplants due to everything from nutrient deficiencies to sheer boredom. It can be frustrating given all the effort you've put into keeping your plant in peak condition to watch it be mowed down by Garfield.

The important thing to realize is plants to a pet can be as enticing on the eye as they are to us. A tree may read as a plaything, a snack, or an enemy from a combative nation. Whether you have a cat, dog, bird, or bearded dragon, striking a balance between everyone in the space make take more than just a house meeting. Thankfully, minor adjustments in the treatment and management of both parties can improve the situation and keep both your citrus tree and your four legged friends happy.

Keep away

Simply put, placing your tree where your pet can’t easily get to it may be the easiest fix to the problem. While ensuring that your plant still gets the necessary light, move your tree to a higher shelf or somewhere your pet can’t as easily jump to.

Use deterrent sprays

By coating your tree leaves in diluted vinegar or other less-appealing flavors, you’ll teach your pet within a few bites that your tree is no longer on the menu. You can find homemade recipes online or purchase bottles at your local pet store. Be sure to apply a nontoxic variety!

Toys

As much as this may sound like rewarding bad behavior, you may be able to break your pet’s snacking habit by providing them with something else to do besides chow down on your tree. Leaving toys out while your cat is alone in addition to working some designated play time into your routines, may alleviate any boredom and burn off excess energy that may be at the root of the issue.

Buy some grass

Cat or kitty grass is a variety of leafy green grown specifically to give your pet something to chew on. A member of the mint family, cat grass is safe to eat, promotes good digestion, and as far as your pet is concerned tastes great. It can be found at pet stores as well as in seed form online.

 

Charles Todd
Unboxing your Plant
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Getting a package is always exciting. Whether it’s a meal kit full of a week’s worth of groceries or even just an Amazon order of paper towels, coming home to a brown parcel of anything can feel like a bright point of one’s week. Receiving a Via Citrus tree is no different.

You may be surprised to learn that live plants adapt well to domestic travel. While our trees aren’t regular jetsetters, they’re happy to make the journey from Howey in the Hills to you. Whether your tree is taking a plane, train, or automobile to get to you, know that it will be kept warm, upright, and steady all the way.

To make the trip, our trees are boxed within two to three days of each order being placed and arrived approximately three days later. They spend an average of three days in transit, traveling in a specially engineered box, carefully labeled to insure their gentle handling and safe arrival.

Prior to arrival day, pick out a space for your new tree. It will range in size depending on the season from 18-22 inches tall and 6-8 inches wide. Whether you plan to keep your tree in a sunny window sill or some other open space, be sure to allow your plant about an inch of clearance on all directions so that it can stretch out after all that travel. Unless you plan to encourage more than average growth in your tree, you won’t need to plan to repot it anytime soon. Citrus trees adapt to their new surroundings, so you won’t find yourself in a James and the Giant Peach situation with a plan larger than your living space.

Placement should be somewhere that gets plenty of sun. In general, potted citrus plants prefer bright light. As much as this condition is best for ideal growth and plentiful fruiting, the trees can also be kept at medium light. If you’re worried about your plant receiving enough light, commercial lighting products are growing in popularity and found easily on Amazon and Google shopping sites.  

If you are unable to meet your tree upon its arrival, it should be fine to remain within its shipping box for one to two days. Rushing home is not necessary, although you may find yourself pacing your mailbox in anticipation of your new arrival. That’s normal for new plant parents.

Via Citrus trees arrive double boxed within both an external cardboard container as well as an internal cardboard sling meant to assist with the unpacking of each tree. To unbox your tree, simply lift up on the two handles and guide your plant from it’s box. If any soil has spilled, simply replace it into the pot.  

Each tree is shipped in standard black one gallon growing pots. If you plan to repot your tree, ideally allow a few days for your tree to rest from all the travel. Next, check your plant’s soil. If the top layer is dry, add water until the soil is damp again. We water all trees before they ship, so although the pot may be dry, your plant won’t be. Finally, place your tree in its new home and enjoy the growing experience!

 

*All shipping materials are recyclable (including the growing pot in certain states). Please dispose of them responsibly.

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What is a Calamondin?
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A calamondin (cal-a-mon-din) is a small citrus hybrid grown as both an ornamental splash of color and an edible treat. Each plant has deep green, oblong leaves and white, sometimes dusky purple flowers that transform into the smooth kumquat-like calamondin fruit.

Calamondins, which are also referred to as acid oranges or golden limes, are thought to have originated in China. Nowadays they are most commonly cultivated in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia where the fruit is used to season soups, sauces, seafood dishes, and a variety of other foods. Calamondins reached Florida in the early twentieth century, flourishing along the Gulf coast and southern United States. Due to their unique fruity flavor, calamondins have seen been used in lemonades, marmalades, and cakes as well as sliced into wedges and served raw with tea.

 The calamondin fruit is similar in shape to tangerines, reaching only about an inch in diameter or roughly the size of a small lime. They have thin rinds that deepen from a yellow-orange to a more carrot-colored hue depending on their maturity. When picking ripe calamondins, it is best to snip the fruit from the tree as to avoid tearing the branch or skin of the calamondin.

 To cook with a calamondin (unless otherwise specified), choose a firmer fruit as it will continue to ripen off the vine and yield more aromatic and flavorful flesh. Modern recipes utilize the calamondin’s vivid zestiness to amplify everything from cocktails to citrus-centric desserts.

 Throughout the year, calamondins will experience several flushes or periods of new growth. The plants self-pollinate and require neither mates nor encouragement to produce fruit. Simply water when dry and keep your calamondin in bright sunlight. Whether potted or planted, it will blossom and bear year-round with little tending, all the while perfuming the air with a sweet smell.

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We're Live!
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Over a year of collaborating with farmers, artists, and engineers we've finally launched viacitrus.com! 

Danny and I are excited to source feedback and continue to make the citrus growing experience better. If you have questions that aren't answered on our FAQ then you can email charley@viacitrus.com and our team will get to work researching and providing you the best answer to your question. 

For 2018 we hope to expand our offerings and resources to our customers. Things to look forward to:

  • More helpful tips on how to care for your tree.
  • Expanded tree options - Lemon, Limes and more!
  • Connected Partner options - including more options for potting your plant and better ways to gift your plant to someone special.
  • Miscellaneous Via Citrus Merchandise - for those who want to rep the brand - shirts, tote bags, pins and more.

In the meantime, thank you again for supporting our small startup! 

Charley

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