Lemons? What lemons?

One thing noticed last winter and repeating this winter, as well.

Homes in the Capital’s more recently developed suburbs as well as its outskirts generally come without any trees and with tiled patios instead. We have been told this is so because ‘trees shed leaves and require soil, thus making a mess’. Naturally, trees provide shade in the hot summer, but this is not something too many are prepared to consider. Nevertheless, when it comes to the older quarters of the city, it is a different story: there are many older houses surviving, complete with gardens full of trees. But oddity is still to be found.

Most of these trees are citrus, basically lemon trees. Lemons ripen roughly between November and January. In our case, they ripen and they stay on the trees and then they wither, rot and drop. Nobody actually picks the lemons. At this time of the year, someone strolling around my neighbourhood (and those still featuring gardens) will see loads of lemon trees with tons of lemons going bad on them. We have picked some of them: they were good. Actually, if there is anything that thrives in the Outpost lowlands, this is oranges and lemons.

Maybe, you would think, people do not use lemons here. But yes, they do. They buy them in styrofoam trays (waxed and imported from Israel), or locally produced by weight (the poorer ones among them). They buy them because lemons are versatile, you can even make lemonade with them.

So, why don’t people pick the lemons from their own trees? I don’t know, I haven’t asked and I won’t because I would once more be stared at for being such an obnoxious wiseguy. If anyone knows the local just-so story for not picking the lemons, please advise (I suspect nouveau-richism, but that might be just impertinent me).

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3 thoughts on “Lemons? What lemons?

  1. Oh you, impertinent you.

    Actually, you could just go ahead and start picking lemons off your neighborhood’s lemon-trees. Then run, run real quick before the dogs get you.

    Actually, I envy you more and more.

  2. Here’s my theory:

    a) I think that in some cases it is regarded as stopping to pick a penny from the street. It’s not a valuable thing to be spending one’s time on. So it’s the nouveau-richism theory.

    b) In many other cases, people actually do pick the lemons they want, but you cannot imagine how many lemons a healthy tree will produce. So it always looks as if noone picks them. And it requires a real effort to pick them all, I mean we’re talking many many bags full of lemons, so they let them rot.

    What’s even sadder is on the island of Andros, where I go from time to time to visit a friend who lives there. They have entire fields of lemon trees that they don’t pick, because it turns out that it is more profitable for them to import them straight from Spain, rather than spend the effort of picking them locally.

    So every time I go we have at least one lemon safari! And they taste great!!

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