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Meyer lemons -- a good buy in New Rochelle

Pat Hammond Feb 7, 2010 10:35 AM

Viva Ranch, 477 Main St., has them right now 6 for a dollar. I don't know why they're so reasonable, when their regular lemons are 4 for a dollar, but these are the real deal. I smelled their fragrance before I saw them. I bought a dozen, big spender that I am, and will freeze a bunch. Lemon squares, here I come!

  1. Cheese Boy Feb 20, 2010 11:00 PM

    I've been shopping at this place for many years and I will *always* refer to it as the OLD Viva Grande, but I believe that for the past several years they are now doing business as BEST FOOD BUY. Best Food Buy is not a particularly catchy name, and I have a difficult time remembering it. Viva Grande is easy to remember because New Rochelle has a very welcoming Mexican population.

    1. r
      Reposado Feb 16, 2010 12:29 PM

      So I made a run to NR yesterday to buy some meyer lemons but none to be found at Viva Ranch. I've also looked for them at Whole Foods in WP, but they haven't had any on two visits, and it doesn't seem they will have any this year. It's the season and my friend in Brooklyn tells me she has seen them at the Park Slope Food Coop. Does anyone know of a source in Westchester?

      20 Replies
      1. re: Reposado
        mcf Feb 16, 2010 02:18 PM

        I bought a container full at Costco a couple of weeks ago. Roasted them with onions with a chicken at high heat; really delicious. Next up, cheesecake with the juice and zest.

        1. re: mcf
          r
          Reposado Feb 16, 2010 03:29 PM

          Which Costco, Port Chester or Yonkers? Thanks.

          1. re: Reposado
            mcf Feb 16, 2010 05:07 PM

            I'm sorry, but mine is on Long Island; my assumption is that the stuff they carry is distributed regionally and that it should show up in your local ones, too.

        2. re: Reposado
          Pat Hammond Feb 16, 2010 06:53 PM

          I'm so sorry you missed them. I went back a few days later and bought more.

          1. re: Pat Hammond
            Cheese Boy Jul 27, 2010 11:58 PM

            Pat, the smaller produce place on Main Street has them again. The sign said "Sweet Lemons", 5/$2. Get them before they're all gone.

          2. re: Reposado
            Pat Hammond Feb 17, 2010 11:37 AM

            I don't know how far you have to drive, but I was just at Viva Grande (the big market) on the corner of Huguenot and Centre St. They have the lemons, as of a half an hour ago. I first spotted them in a box next to the stairs (leading inside) at the outside market. They have them inside too, in one of the aisles with other citrus fruit. They're not near regular lemons. Same price, 6 for $1. If you don't see them, ask somebody. Good luck.

            1. re: Pat Hammond
              r
              Reposado Feb 17, 2010 02:47 PM

              Thanks Pat. I'm in WP, so not too far. I'll give it a try on Saturday (have to work tomorrow and Friday) and hopefully they'll still have them.

              Best.

              1. re: Reposado
                Pat Hammond Feb 17, 2010 04:07 PM

                Watch this space, Reposado. I've made a note to go on a reconnaissance mission on Friday. I'll let you know if it'd be worth your while to make the drive.

                1. re: Pat Hammond
                  a
                  anonymouse1935 Feb 18, 2010 05:07 PM

                  Best hurry to Viva Grande. They're now bagging them, 12 for a $1.

                  I have a feeling we've been good publicity for the Meyer lemon!

                  I've not yet tasted them -- what is their best use, other than lemon squares and lemon martinis?

                  1. re: anonymouse1935
                    Pat Hammond Feb 19, 2010 03:55 AM

                    I'm a novice using them myself, but the Home Cooking board can give you lots of suggestions. Did you buy some?

                    1. re: Pat Hammond
                      a
                      anonymouse1935 Feb 19, 2010 04:23 AM

                      Yes, two dozen. I'll be juicing them and freezing the juice in old ice cube trays.

                      Good idea on the HC board.

            2. re: Reposado
              s
              shoekittykat Feb 18, 2010 05:34 PM

              I know this reply will not solve your intial problem but I saw QVC selling a dwarf meyer plant that you can buy. I must admit it seemed rather facinating to potentially have these lemons at my disposal. The dont mail them out for a few weeks but this time next year you will have them in your home. What are you planning to do with them?

              1. re: shoekittykat
                r
                Reposado Feb 19, 2010 09:56 AM

                I have a number of things in mind, including preserving some to use in tagines and baking with the juice and zest. As anonymouse says, if I can get a bunch I will freeze the juice for future use. And, anonymouse, don't forget to zest them first. The zest is incredibly fragrant and delicious. For more ideas, the LA Times ran a piece called something like "100 Things to Make with Meyer Lemons." If you search for it, you'll find it. Lot's of great ideas. Basically, anything you can do with a regular lemon you can do with a Meyer, but they have less acidity (and more flavor and aroma). And yes, I've thought about getting one of the dwarf trees, but I don't really have the room for it.

                1. re: Reposado
                  a
                  anonymouse1935 Feb 19, 2010 12:09 PM

                  Reposado, Pat, I finally tried one, out of curiosity. Wow, is it good. NOW I see what all the hubbub is about. The aroma is indeed unique.

                  The pulp is edible, and the juice is very delicious. Kudos to Mr. Meyer.

                  1. re: Reposado
                    Pat Hammond Feb 19, 2010 01:11 PM

                    Just got back from Viva Grande, the big market. They have the bags of lemons marked .99. I didn't count them, but there were quite a few in the bag. When you go into the store, go right at the first aisle and walk to the end, where that aisle opens up into more "rooms" at the back. Right there on the left is a bin, with bags of the lemons and also some limes. I think this is probably the spot where leftovers from a shipment are put and at a "cut rate" price. *If* they still have some tomorrow, get a bag. Every lemon might not be perfect, but you'll certainly salvage some. I found them by asking. All I can say is good luck!

                    1. re: Pat Hammond
                      r
                      Reposado Feb 20, 2010 06:59 AM

                      Just got back from Viva Grande -- first time there and it's really great. Got what appeared to be the last two bags at 99 cents. What a bargain. Thanks Pat, appeciate it. Happy cooking.

                      1. re: Reposado
                        a
                        anonymouse1935 Feb 20, 2010 07:18 AM

                        Reposado, sorry to report -- they're not as good as the original 6 for $.99

                        I've been juicing them this a.m. - the juice is okay, but the pulp is not as delicious.

                        Bottom line, though, they're still better than regular lemons.

                        Where do they come from? Will they not be available until next Feb.? I'll be watching for Pat's report and will make a beeline for them!

                        P.S. Reposado, funny story. I sent DH to buy more, and he called to say they were out, and I made him laugh by telling him I knew who bought the last two bags! Small world.

                        1. re: Reposado
                          Pat Hammond Feb 20, 2010 09:49 AM

                          I love a happy ending! Hope you could salvage some good ones among those you bought. I've been shopping at both of those Viva markets for about 7 years and this is the first year I've seen Meyer lemons.

                          1. re: Pat Hammond
                            a
                            anonymouse1935 Feb 20, 2010 10:26 AM

                            Thanks, Pat. Wow, so they are a rarity.

                            I think the three of us bought them out!

                            1. re: anonymouse1935
                              r
                              Reposado Feb 22, 2010 07:19 AM

                              Pat, I threw out 4 or 5, but was able to zest and juice the rest. anonymouse, you're right, they were not the freshest specimens, but still pretty good. I used some of the zest and juice for dinner last night -- steamed littlenecks and seared tuna. Delicious. The rest of the zest and juice is in my freezer. To answer your questions, most if not all Meyer lemons in this country come from California, so not ideal from a locavore standpoint. Some lucky folks there have a tree in their back yards. The season usually begins in December and runs through February, but when they are available here, it's usually just for a month or so, after the new year. (But as I noted above, a friend who is a member of the Park Slope food coop is able to get them off and on throughout the year, so either there is another source or there is some cold storage/gas type system available to preserve them, but it doesn't seem to be widely used.) BTW, hat tip to mcf -- I was at Costco in Port Chester yesterday and they had some in stock, higher price, but fresher lemons. Bought a few to use fresh.

                2. JMF Feb 7, 2010 12:22 PM

                  They also had sweet limes last week real cheap. The juice is bland, even insipid, but the zest is magnificently fragrant and floral.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JMF
                    Pat Hammond Feb 7, 2010 03:19 PM

                    They still do, but I only had eyes for the Meyers!

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