By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Production Assistant: Candace Brower
One of the many good things about living south of the Mason Dixon line is the ability to be a citrus farmer…if only in your backyard. My current home in Savannah is no exception. On this modest piece of ground overlooking the Forrest River, there grows one yellow grapefruit tree, 2 orange trees, and one clementine tree. About this time every year all of the trees are heavy with fruit.
For the first month after the fruit ripened, my husband and I made ourselves drunk with vitamin C consumption. Each day, our diet consisted of a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and half a grapefruit for breakfast. Lunch included a just picked clementine or two acting as a dessert. And, cocktail hour always involved a twist.
Between the two of us, we had eaten more citrus than a rally full of frenzied Anita Bryant supporters hopped up on self-righteous morals and misinformation. Yet still, we had made no dent in our citrus spoils.
On day 32, I started giving the fruit to anyone who would take it. Baskets full were left at the food bank, my yoga studio and dentist’s office. I handed out citrus like advice. And, like my advice, no one wanted it.
Last week my neighbor had a large construction crew at her home working on a new seawall and I saw and opportunity.
“Hey boys, can I give you some fruit from my citrus trees to take home?” I asked. While they were shaking their heads “no”, I was putting bags stuffed with the candy colored fruit in the back of each pick-up truck. I told myself it was for their own good…scurvy still being a thing and all.
Now some 40 plus days after the first juice was squeezed, I can finally see an end to our citrus bounty. A ladder is needed to reach the last plump orbs and for some reason the fruit just doesn’t taste as sweet.
It saddens me to think I won’t see the spectacular colors dotting the view from my windows or smell the citrus perfume that fills the air for another year. If I’m smart, I’ll use this time from now until that first fruit ripens to devise a plan on how to dispose of them.