Karen Morss is an orchardess with an incredible story -- it includes more than 2 decades in the computer industry, starting a flight school, writing children's books, and more.
Nowadays, her story also includes tending her Meyer lemon orchard in Emerald Hills, California, not too far from San Francisco. We'll let her tell the rest.
How did you get your start growing lemons? I love Meyer lemons. Before I started, it was very hard to find them in the Bay Area, besides people’s backyards. I thought if I planted them, and sold them online, I would have a market and I do!
How long have you been growing lemons? Can you tell us a little about what you've done in the past? I was in the computer industry from 1973-1995. The last ten of those years I spent on a software company I started specializing in laser forms for banking and government clients worldwide. After that I switched gears, and started Diamond Aviation a flight school doing basic and advanced flight training. After 5 years, sold the school and retired in 2000. From 2000-2003 wrote two aviation themed screenplays. In 2004, I planted the orchard and my first harvest was in 2007.
What about currently - do you have other jobs now? Aside from growing lemons, I also write children's books (Flying Poodles - a Christmas Story and The Phantom Poodle of Rainy Pass) and have a custom stained glass business.
Why did you get involved with CNG? An alternative to expensive organic certification
What is unique or unusual about your farm? Each tree named for a woman who inspired me or helped me achieve my dreams. And each lady painted a tile for her tree with her name.
What was your most positive farming experience? The feedback from our customers. Notes, cards and letters thank us for growing the lemons.
What unexpected customer interactions have been especially rewarding? Three women have started orchards based on my success. That's is very rewarding. I offer advice and guidance when asked.
If you could change one thing about our food system, what would it be? GMO labeling
How did you choose your farm name? My mother thought of it!
Do you have any guilty pleasures? Dark Chocolate.
Most useful farm tool? The internet.
What plans or hopes do you have for your farm in the future? Good and bountiful harvests.
Learn more by visiting the Lemon Ladies Orchard website or Facebook page. To learn more about Karen's children's books visit www.Flying-Poodles.com and to see the custom stained glass she makes visit www.GlassCritters.com.