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Monday, January 24, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons….

Yep, I know, how cliché…..make lemonade.

But, it’s true – and I’ll tell you why:

A couple of years ago I went on a listing appointment in Sweetwater Ranch, a charming community in Scottsdale.  It was a beautifully remodeled home where every detail was meticulous.  The homeowners toured me through the home and showed me the granite, the imported sink in the half bath, the glass tiles adorning the wall, the built-ins and even the new door hardware.  They had put a great deal of time, effort and money into this home and it clearly showed.  We hit it off immediately, shared some common interests and chatted for well over an hour.  Mrs. Homeowner took me to the rear grounds with a quaint brick-laid patio, a trickling fountain and view of the mountains.  She spent hours in the back and here she tended roses, herbs and tons of citrus. 

She had oranges and grapefruit and tangerine and a lemon grove with more trees than I thought was possible for a Scottsdale subdivision.  She graciously offered me lemons and I was thrilled.  I love a lemon wedge in my vodka, with my salad or on my fish.  I have always wanted to make a lemon meringue pie and that was all I could think about as she handed me two sacks filled to the brim with plump, fragrant lemons.  I couldn’t wait to get home to search for the perfect recipe to bake my pie.  Her generosity was unbelievable and so heart warming.  I so appreciated her bountiful gift.

I perused Betty Croker and found a recipe that called for a lemon or two.  I figured that couldn’t be a very good one since it didn’t require much fruit.  So, I continued thumbing through books.  Colorado Cache, Palm Springs Life, Better Homes & Gardens, and several charity books my mother had given me with recipes.  Any with a lemon meringue recipe asked for just a few lemons, two to three at tops. 

I had 50 or so overflowing from the sacks.  I soon understood why Mrs. Homeowner had been so generous.

How does one get rid of so much fruit?  When we’re talking lemons, go ahead and make that pie, but also make some lemonade as a good batch will use 5 or 6!  (See links to recipes below). 1 cup of juice equals 5 to 6 lemons.

It’s citrus season here and throughout the valley you will seeing trees dripping with heavy branches from citrus.  I scratch my head as I wander through the produce section at Fry’s.  Oranges sell for $1.00 a pound.  Lemons are two for $.88.  Most people that have citrus have more than they can possibly use or giveaway, yet people are buying citrus?  If you’re looking for citrus, I can almost guarantee that if you go up to the door of a neighbor (or even a stranger, for that matter) and ask if you can pick some fruit, they will run – not walk – to the kitchen to retrieve some bags for your haul.

Trust me when I say that homeowners growing citrus are THRILLED to get rid of their citrus.  Mature trees produce an abundant amount of fruit – bushels and bushels – and most go to waste.  They rot and if you’re not careful, will attract roof rats in a heart beat. 

Roof rats, the same critter accused of spreading the plague in the middle ages, have been a problem for quite some time.  Reportedly, the first outbreak was seen in early 2001 in the Arcadia neighborhood, but have since grown and spread throughout the valley.  If you have citrus, or want to know more about these little critters, I encourage you to read up on roof rats.  Bottom line is you need to get the fruit off the trees, and keep the branches away from the house.  Some experts say citrus needs to be removed from the trees by March 1.

We love this time of year – the Barrett-Jackson, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Arabian World Show…but it’s citrus season too!  Go ahead, get out there, knock on the neighbor’s door and offer some fruit.  Who knows, you might meet a new friend!

Some of my all-time favorite lemonade recipes are found online and include:

And, mix it up a bit and add other delicate flavors like ginger, cherry or raspberry.  How ever you make it, you’ll bring a smile to someone’s face!

©2011 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at

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