New Issue: Meyer lemons celebrated by USPS

A new definitive stamp celebrating Meyer lemons—the Chinese citrus fruit believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or sweet orange—was recently unveiled by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Available in coils of 10,000 stamps, the two-cent issue was dedicated last week at the Winter 2018 Stampfest and Postcard Show in Kenner, L.A. The stamp can be used as additional postage that can be added to other stamps to meet the necessary postage for any given mail piece.

For collectors, this stamp is also available in coil strips of 500 stamps through Stamp Fulfillment Services.

“I am honoured to represent the Postal Service for the unveiling of the Meyer Lemons stamp,” said U.S. Postal Service Louisiana District Operations Programs Support Manager Keith Accardo in dedicating the stamp.

“These lemons are sought by chefs and home cooks throughout our region. The new postage stamp will depict the word ‘USA’ on the side and will value a new two-cent definitive. I look forward to purchasing these stamps and encourage you all to do the same.”

The Meyer lemons first-day cover was cancelled in Kenner, L.A.

NATIVE TO CHINA

The Meyer lemon has its roots in China; however, it’s unknown when the plant first appeared.

Frank N. Meyer, for whom the lemon was later named, encountered the dwarf fruit trees in the early 1900s in Beijing where they were grown primarily for ornamental rather than culinary purposes. Meyer, who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was tasked with discovering native plants of other countries that might thrive in the U.S.

In 1908, Meyer sent a specimen of the tree to the USDA Plant Introduction Station in California. It rapidly gained popularity with gardeners as an ornamental potted plant.

Sometimes smaller and rounder than true lemons, Meyer lemons have a smooth skin and range in color from deep yellow to light orange with a dark yellow or orange pulp. Moderately acidic, they are also very juicy and somewhat sweeter than true lemons with hints of mandarin and sweet lime. Their rinds have a complex scent—slightly herbal and spicy.

The bitter pith layer found in regular lemons is quite thin in the Meyer, so the fruit can be used in its entirety. Though stories vary about who’s responsible for making the fruit a culinary superstar, today, Meyer lemons are sought by chefs and home cooks for their aromatic, slightly sweet quality.

Meyer lemon trees are easily grown by individuals in gardens in citrus-growing areas and in containers elsewhere.

Art director Derry Noyes, of Washington, D.C., designed this stamp with an existing illustration by John Burgoyne, of West Barnstable, Mass. Burgoyne used pen and ink and watercolour to create the stamp art depicting a whole Meyer lemon next to two wedges of the cut fruit.

A first-day cover was also cancelled in Kenner, L.A.

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