As legend has it, while fleeing from Paradise with Adam, Eve, took one of the “Golden Fruits” with her. Adam, fearing Heavenley wroth, asked her to trhow the lemon away. After climbing many a mountain and traversing valleys and plains, they came across the Bay of Garavan. The beautiful bay, mild climate and luxurious exotic plants evoked poignant memories of the garden of Eden … Eve planted the lemon in the soil, and from this a little piece of Paradise, Menton was born.
The Lemon of Menton differs from its Italian, Spanish and Corsican relatives!
A very bright yellow
Several varieties of lemons are grown in the Menton region: Santa Theresa, Villafranca, Eureka... The shape is more elliptical than round with a bright yellow colour. It is also characterized by very fructiferous branches bearing up to fifteen fruits, while there are less than five to a branch on most lemon trees. The research together with the INRA* reveals that the lemon grown in the Menton region is rich in acid and essence, with a high essential oil content in the peel.”
After a period of decline, production in the Menton region is under revival. There are about fifteen professional citrus growers in the townships of Menton, Roquebrune, Sainte-Agnès and Castellar, producing more than 150 metric tons of lemons yearly. The municipality of Menton, the Chamber of Agriculture and the Crédit Agricole bank was promoting the development of production and over 5,000 trees were planted in the 90’.
Young citrus farmers are particularly welcome in the town’s unconstructible areas.The Ville de Menton will provide citrus farmers council land that can be farmed and encourage private landowners to do the same. “This well help us meet the demand from restauranteurs and gourmet markets.”
A label of quality for the Lemon of Menton
Business people and local elected officials are trying to get a quality-label for Menton lemons. An association of citrus fruit professionals and proprietors (APCM), which seeks to promote a higher profile for the Menton lemon, recently submitted a formal dossier to the French authority on place names and quality control (Institut National des Appellations d’Origines et de Qualité) with the aim of being awarded Protected Geographical Indication.