It is time to confess something here: stately IPB Manor has not been using its real name online. Its real name is Maple Hoo, or, more optimistically (and not a little sarcastically), Maple Hoo Farm and Orchard. We’ve mentioned a few times that we have a somewhat hit-or-miss vegetable garden, and our pride and joy are the 12 heirloom apple trees we planted along the street in our front yard. The Maple Hoo orchard is something about which we’ve planned to be very patient, because all the information about our baby apple trees said that it would be at least three years before we got any fruit from them. So imagine our surprise this past fall when our Rome Beauty presented us with two little apples!
We were a bit gun-shy with these babies after the way the squirrels ate all 12 fruits from our first crop from our lone peach tree, so we picked them waaaaay early. They were supposed to be, um, really red. As you can see, these weren’t. We’d actually refrained from writing anything about them until now because when we tasted them, they were horribly tart and under-ripe. But we’ve decided it’s worth documenting them today because we just pulled in a totally surprising haul from one of our wee little potted Meyer lemon trees in our sunroom.
We’ve had these two scraggly little trees for about four years now, and twice a year they put on glorious shows of spectacularly fragrant blossoms, then they develop dozens of little green proto-lemons, and then they drop them all and leave us depressed that we’re lousy lemon farmers. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. We’ve previously grown lemons enough to make madeleines with them.) We’re not terribly attentive to the trees, so this past weekend we were jury-rigging a system to keep Matsui from using their pots as litter boxes (seriously, having pets is great) and lo and behold! There were two lemons. I had no idea they were even growing there. We’re going to use them in cocktails when we get back from New Orleans. I can’t wait.