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A fruit that's at home in any recipe: Local farm-to-table chef dishes on gardening, fruits and zesty mellow yellows

Local farm-to-table chef Soren Pedersen, who is a regular at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Eastside, works magic with seasonally fresh ingredients. As a stalwart believer of sourcing from local and sustainable farms, the friendly chef also grows fruits and vegetables in his own garden.


His favorite fruit tree? Read on for our friendly chat with Soren. 


Q: What satisfaction do you get from growing, harvesting and eating your own fruits?


Soren Pedersen: I have always enjoyed growing fruits, vegetable and fresh herbs. To grow and nurture a small garden is very calming for me. Through gardening, I can feel seasonal changes even though Texas almost skips a couple of seasons. And thankfully so, enabling us to grow fruits and vegetables year-round in Houston. 


I have only been growing on a small scale, but enough to go out a pick a few tomatoes, lemons and fresh herbs for a nice piece of fish on the grill. I can't help feel pride and accomplishment. 


Q: What's your favorite fruit tree and why?


Soren Pedersen: The Meyer Lemon — no question. It’s a beautiful tree, easy to care for and usually carries lots of fruit.


Q: What does the fruit look like?


Soren Pedersen: I started my tree from a small pot on the patio, then planted it in my garden. It’s a beautiful lush green tree, which I had over a period of 5 years until we moved. Today, the tree is about 6 feet tall! Confession: I still pass by every once in a while to keep an eye on it. It started carrying fruit after the first year and gradually increased to the point when I was able to share some with the restaurant. 


Q: How do you prefer to eat it. Raw? In a recipe? Cooked?


Soren Pedersen: The beauty of a Meyer Lemon is that it can be eaten in many different ways, from fresh off the tree to preserving it for the winter months. Either way, it provides a nice refreshing balance to any dish. I use Meyer Lemons in dressings, on fresh fish especially grilled, for pesto, to make marmalade and even just a zesty glass of lemonade to cool off during the summer months.


Q: How does it taste?


Soren Pedersen: Well-rounded citrus, lemon flavor with a soft touch of sweetness without over powering any other ingredients.


Q: Where can I get one?


Soren Pedersen: Of course at the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale on Saturday, Jan. 14.


For more information about this year's Fruit Tree Sale, visit our Facebook Event Page