JANE Boniface has worked with limes for the past 15 years. She’s spent thousands of hours picking, juicing and handling them, but she says she never tires of their scent.
“I’ve never actually got sick of the smell of limes. They just have this lovely clean fresh smell,” she said.
She also never tires of eating them. “We’re big fish eaters at our place. We eat a really simple Mediterranean style diet -lots of fresh fish and salad, with plenty of lime squeezed over the top.”
Jane’s limes all come straight from her organic citrus orchard at Numulgi, (nicknamed Rancho Relaxo) which she and partner Jose established in 2002. When they first moved to the farm, it was predominantly stone fruit and custard apples, but when they saw how many chemicals were involved with stone fruit, they got rid of those trees and tripled the limes, as well as adding lemons and mandarins.
Jane and Jose and their lime green Kombi are now a familiar sight at the local farmers markets, where they have been selling their fruit, along with Jane’s home-made award-winning lime and mandarin cordials, for many years.
Jane says the red soil on the farm is particularly good for citrus – it produces a great tasting fruit and there is very little need for fertilisers.
As this year’s lime harvest gets underway, Jane says the hot and dry conditions mean there is a smaller crop than usual, but with some good rain, the trees are likely to produce again: “If we get a good lot of rain soon, the trees will go back into flower and we should have a really good after-season crop. That means we’ll have a supply right up until Christmas. It normally happens like that,” she said.
When it comes to choosing limes, Jane says the roundness of the fruit is a good indication of how much juice it will hold. The bigger and rounder its, the juicier it will be.
Jane also encourages her customers not to waste the zest, especially as her fruit are not waxed or sprayed: “I always say to people, if you’re buying the limes just for their juice, take the zest of them as well. Wrap it in foil, put it in the freezer, and add to it as you go, because you can use the zest in so many things too.”
• Find Rancho Limes at the New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday.