Local lemon tips scales
by Joel Danoy
Mar 15, 2013 | 4276 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mabel Moitoso looks Wednesday, March 13, at the 21-inch circumference Lisbon lemon that came from a 10-year-old tree in her backyard. The 103-year-old planted the tree to replace one that was first planted in 1941, and said it produces several large lemons a year.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Mabel Moitoso looks Wednesday, March 13, at the 21-inch circumference Lisbon lemon that came from a 10-year-old tree in her backyard. The 103-year-old planted the tree to replace one that was first planted in 1941, and said it produces several large lemons a year. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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For the past week, an irregularly large centerpiece has adorned the kitchen table in Mabel Moitoso’s Tracy home.

The 103-year-old sat in her kitchen Wednesday, March 13, trying to make sense of the nearly 4.5-pound Lisbon lemon sitting on the table in a bowl. The yellow behemoth has a 21-inch circumference, and its internal juice emanates a sweet smell detectable nearly three feet away.

“I couldn’t believe it when they told me that I had a great big lemon out there,” Moitoso said. “I thought, ‘Great big lemon? I’ll come.’ They get a little big sometimes, but nothing like this.”

Moitoso planted the tree in her backyard nearly 10 years ago when her first Lisbon lemon tree died. That tree was planted in the front yard in 1941, when her husband built the Old Schulte Road home.

She was alerted to the bulging fruit last week, and it was picked Saturday, March 9, by a family friend, Cindy Rose.

“When I brought it in, she said, ‘Oh my word,’ because I don’t think she expected just how big it really was,” said Rose, 49. “It was just hanging there from the tree.”

Moitoso said she now relies on family and friends to pick her supply of lemons, but she mentioned that she “always enjoyed” picking from the tree — which has a history of full blooms.

“I have lemons galore growing out there all the time,” she said. “They are always thick on there, real yellow, and I have pictures that show how good it’s been.”

Since its picking, the fruit has attracted a lot of attention. But Moitoso said Wednesday that it’s time to “cut it up and see how much juice I get.”

She uses the lemons in her iced tea and for cooking and baking, including for lemon pies.

“We’ve all seen the lemon now,” she said. “I’m ready to see what I can get out of it.”

• Contact Joel Danoy 835-3030 or jdanoy@tracypress.com.
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