We offer two different varieties of lemons, the Meyer variety and the Yen Ben. The Meyer lemon is the most commonly grown lemon in New Zealand. A soft fruit with high juice content, it is a cross between a lemon and mandarin.
Smaller than other lemons, Meyer lemons also have a smoother, thinner skin and darker yellow pulp. What’s special about this variety is the sweeter taste - they pack far less of a tangy punch than other lemons. Take a whiff of a Meyer lemon and compare it to any other kind - you’ll find that Meyer lemons have a unique, slightly spicy scent.
We have Frank Meyers to thank for the discovery of this lemon. Employed as an Agricultural Explorer - yes, that was his actual job title - in the early 1900s, it was his job to discover new plant species and bring them back to the US. During a trip to China in search of exotic plants, he stumbled across an ornamental tree that is now known as the Meyer lemon. The locals told him it was only for decoration, not for eating, but he disagreed and it was one of the 2,500 plants brought into the US by this intrepid adventurer.
Although it has been around for a long time, it was kitchen guru Martha Stewart who really boosted the Meyer lemon’s popularity when she started promoting it for use in her recipes in 2004. The Meyer lemons are available from April - November.
The Yen Ben variety is known as a ‘true’ lemon. It is lighter in colour then a Meyer and is more tart in flavour. It has a smooth, thin skin, a high level of acidic juice and few pips. Also known as a Lisbon lemon, it originated in Queensland, Australia during the 1930s. It caught the attention of New Zealand fruit researchers in the mid 1970s, resulting in the planting of a large number of trees. The Yen Ben lemons are available from July - December.
Our first lemon growers were Brian and Dianne Williams – we first spotted them right across the road from our house on the way to drop the kids at school, globes of gold ripe for the picking. Brian grows lemons exclusively – they are his passion and he pours all of his skill as an orchardist (not to mention his magic homemade seaweed fertiliser) into growing the very best Meyer lemons.
Lemons are used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for their juice and zest. They make such a difference to food’s flavour and are used so often in cooking that they are considered almost indispensable. They contain a high amount of vitamin C.
Lemons store well at room temperature out of direct sunlight for at least a week, but will last much longer in the fridge – up to a month in a sealed plastic bag.