Caipirinhas anyone, in November!

It’s been a funny old month or so here, very different to our usual Feb/Mar where we’d expect a lot of guests from China, Taiwan (yes I know :rofl: ), Japan, and Brazil here for the Flamenco festival.1

Instead, in addition to our domestic Spanish guests, we’ve had one Brazilian based in Europe, a Japanese woman based in France, then a whole load of other European guests and a few Brits. I’m not complaining, its been busy and they’ve all been good guests, the only grumbles for the past six weeks amount to a (very smelly) bin not emptied at checkout and a Dutchy oversleeping on check out day. Allegedly due to them enjoying my recommendations for the previous night :wink:

The one common theme has been their fascination with our patio, with its central lemon tree and several other potted citrus trees. The Spaniards aside, as to them it’s just the usual shit they see every day, we’ve ended up giving a patio tour in a addition to the apartment tour!

It’s been so long since we’ve any great number of foreign guests that we’d probably got a bit lazy at check in time, Spanish guests tend to want to get checked in as quickly as possible, no fuss, no extended tour etc and they generally don’t use the patio other than to smoke.

Just to give a bit of context, our house dates from 1760 2 or thereabouts and is built around an open central patio of approximately 65m2. On the ground floor, the patio is shared between two apartments with plenty of room for two sets of guests to eat, drink and socialise etc, without feeling too close to each other.

The lemon tree is around five years old, a present from our builder to celebrate the completion of the major refurbishment (building was derelict when we bought it). Over the past few years we’ve gradually added two different varieties of orange, mandarina, lime, and limequat, plus of course the obligatory other bits of greenery and colour. Next on the list is an almond tree, but we need to have a read up on them first, then have a good think about placement.

Anyway, we’ve decided to redo our pics, and focus more on the outdoor space available for guest use. Our current pics are ancient, but on the basis we’re generally as busy as we want to be, it’s always been a case of if it isn’t broken, why try to fix it.

The weather here has been really shitty for the past couple of weeks and the forecast for the next week is pretty similar, so I reckon we’ll be into April before we get a chance to get the camera out.

However yesterday, after having a quick chat with the lemon tree about his sluggishness in going from bud to fruit, and reassuring the mandarina that we won’t bin her due to a lack of buds, I ended up chatting to the lime tree about how many little babies she was having. I told her, if you’d two legs folks would really be talking about you, but as you’ve only a trunk, all is good.

So, just like about to be new parents here’s just some of our babies, think about it as the downtown urban fruit farmer’s equivalent of an ultrasound:

I don’t expect them all to survive, but from experience I’m predicting a bumper crop of limes this year, probably ready around late November. So, it’s party time at Casa JohnF :cocktail: with caipirinhas made 51 brand cachaça and mojitos with whatever cheap shitty white rum is on offer in Mercadona, together with fresh mint from our urban herb garden.

Incidentally, the other trees output is always put to good use, lemon curd, marmalade and so on. Great bartering produce for when you need favours :wink:


1 Oxford comma inserted solely for @JJD

2 We believe the building (front section) to be earlier, possibly going back to around 1690, but further research at the museum required to get a definitive answer. The street was named after a local family in 1530 so who knows what we’ll find out :sunglasses:


Whether it be a comma or a shirt, an oxford is better than nothing though both are a bit conservative for my taste :grin:

Your lime tree is bursting! It’s beautiful. I envy your Spanish patio! We also have a lime tree and two different lemon trees, both remarkably productive. They have to come in and out of the house for the New England seasons but it works out. We’re on the third floor and they’re currently on our stair landing since it’s still winter for us. But I reached out and grabbed a lime for my mezcal just last night!

I think it was the last one for now, but we still have Meyer lemons.


We’re really pleased with her this year, she’s been quite ill for a while after getting ravaged by mealybugs around May last year when she lost all her fruit. My OH wiped down EVERY leaf with methylated spirits as a last resort, and it looks like it worked.

You can see in that pic the level of calcium we have in our water, although while it looks pretty shit, it doesn’t affect the trees or plants.

So do I, as it’s pretty much there for the guests. But hey ho, we’ve another two terraces for our use, and they get more sun than the patio so much better for the friends and family who visit. Like most folks here, we dodge the sun from May till September!

LOL! We’d need a forklift to shift ours. I can just about drag the lime when I’m getting the jet hose on the patio.



When I worked picking cherries in Canada one season, they actually sprayed their cherry trees with calcium. I don’t know if it’s good for all fruit trees, but apparently beneficial to cherries.

Yes, do your due diligence on almond trees- I’ve never had one, but there are some in my town- they get huge, the root system buckles the sidewalk, and the part around the nut seems to stain the pavement purple.

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Yeah, they’ve got a seriously vigorous root system, but ours will be potted. What I’m more concerned about is how that’ll affect the fruiting, and how much direct sun they’ll need.

It’s all a learning process for a retired city boy who previously was only interested in plants that produced stuff you could pipe or roll :rofl: which incidentally my OH has barred me from. She really does have better judgement than moi.



Or get a good Appleton’s Jamaica rum and some zippy ginger beer, add your lime, and you have my ideal rum drink.

I’m a kumquat lover. Just bottled the last batch of infused kumquat liqueur the other night, and I have candied kumquat peel in the pantry for sweet zest. Maybe I’ll bring kumquat and kalamansi seeds when I visit.

And since I know I’m allergic to orange blossoms, I’d rather visit at picking time rather than blooming time. Have you thought about keeping a beehive to help pollinate your fruit trees?

You have Malaysian Calamansi seeds available in ALASKA!?
When you visit down under, please bring some!
Cointreau and calamansi juice over ice!

I hope that happens! Our mango trees are thick with little mangoes. Last year looked like it would be a bumper crop, but Hurricane Elsa came along just before they were ripe and blew almost all of them off :cry:

Our Mexican lime tree and Valencia orange tree are doing great and bearing a lot!. I love those caipirinhas, knew them in Brasil and also during enjoyment of dancing lambada in SF many many nights…

Mango tree… birds and squirrels will get them until I get those little protective baggies…
We also have kumquats very good sliced thin, boiled once with 2Twater 1/2 T sugar on goat cheese!!

You guys are making me hungry (& thirsty)! :yum:


You can walk around my neighborhood in July and fill two shopping bags full of mangos in about 3 minutes. There are thousands that just rot on the ground.

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Oh my, goodness! That hurts my heart. I love mangos and they are not cheap here.

I love them, too. I eat about 6 of them a day here in mango season, freeze them, and I’m planning to make mango jam this year.


Same in St Lucia. Drive along the roads and you can fill the back of a pickup in short order. Even now, although it isn’t really the season, you can get local mangoes for 40 cents US each.

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checks out November flights and availability at Casa JF<

Your lime tree is amazing!! And the patio sounds like paradise.

My favorites. I’m in the process of getting a Meyer lemon tree and a Key West lime tree and figuring out where to put them. Also a Valencia orange because they’re a family favorite.

Oh this sounds delicious!

My neighbor had 2 hives and gives me honey every year. sigh…

What is Calamansi? Can’t stand Appleton’s, love Mount Gay.

Many of my neighbors and friends have avocado trees, mango trees, and other fruits including guava. I get bags dropped off on my front porch when these giant trees start fruiting. It’s wonderful.

I just planted this tree at the rental 4 weeks ago. I never expected it to bloom this year since it had no blossoms when I planted it and all of my citrus trees have been in full bloom for a few weeks, but this little guy has a few dozen blossoms now. Maybe I’ll get a few fruit this winter. This is a “Eureka pink lemon” that has green/yellow striped leaves as well as green/yellow striped fruit with pink- or orange-colored flesh.


About 15% of Juneau’s population is Filipino, so we get a lot of Filipino fruit and veg here, fresh, frozen, and processed. Their complaint is that it’s hard to get green mangos here. It helps that the head produce guy at my local market is second generation Filipino.

Someone asked what a calamansi is, and I said that it appears to be an ancestral lime, with the skin of a pomelo/ugli fruit.

The one bad thing about kumquats are the seeds, sometimes several in larger fruit. Here’s my secret:

I cut the kumquats in half, insert the half in a (very clean!) garlic press, squeeze out juice and pulp. I then chiffonade the skins to use fresh as zest, or to put in a mason jar with enough sugar to help dehydrate it.

I love kumquat juice and zest as a marinade for halibut. You could probably make ceviche with it because it’s so acid, but that’s a lot of tiny fruits to cut and squeeze.

You can keep the candied peel handy to sprinkle on sweets that need a flavor zip, and use the flavored sugar to sweeten doughs or whipped cream.

In this case, I was able to get a great deal on a huge bag of very juicy kumquats, so I infused juice, pulp, and zest in a glass jar with Everclear (180 proof, 90% grain alcohol) for about 6 months, then filtered it, sweetened with simple syrup, and diluted it with water to 80-90 proof before bottling.

@Muddy I know what a forgotten box of Costco mangos left in a car in warm weather smells like. Wow, a whole village of that?

Perhaps some enterprising person might think of brewing/distilling something from all that ripe fruit?

Yes, it’s a pretty heady smell. And of course attracts tons of wasps.

The properties that have mango orchards do sell their fruit- there are big time mango buyers who hire crews to go pick the fruit before it falls- a truck full of pickers goes up and down my little road twice daily for about a week and a half during mango season,totally loaded.

But there are lots of properties which just have a few mango trees, and don’t do anything with them commercially, and those are where you see the fruit rotting all over the ground or on the road. The home owners use as much as they want, and leave the rest.

It was the same when I lived in Canada, but with apples, pears and plums and cherries. The area I lived in was called “The Old Orchard” and once upon a time, when it just consisted of a few farmsteads, was a commercial fruit growing area. But it’s all residential now, and while the majority of the fruit trees were cut down to make room for houses, there’s still a lot of fruit trees in the area. I had 2 large old cherry trees, a peach tree, and a plum tree in my yard.

I used to walk around the neighborhood and knock on doors where I saw fruit just rotting in the ground obviously not being picked. I had 3 kids to feed and canned tons of free food.
Now they actually have an organization up there which offers to pick the fruit people don’t want, and distribute it to others. It causes a big bear problem there to leave it rotting on the ground.

I asked and thanks for the answer! Sounds intriguing. I’ll have to check the Asian markets here.

I love kumquats and you have given me great ideas on how to use them. I love citrus and fish. mmmm

Mango wine? Mango whipped honey? Freeze for sangria.