I got a surprising call from my father in the fall of 2010 asking me if I would like to move home and work with him to help introduce finger limes to the world.
And So It Begins
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Megan Shanley Warren. I run Shanley Farms with my father, Jim Shanley. He and I have been giving it our all for the last several years since I came on board in 2010 to build Shanley Farms into the company that our customers now rely on to bring premium produce and new and exciting products to their stores. And it all started with a funky little fruit.
My fate of returning home to work for my father after college was inspired by the finger lime. If you haven’t seen one yet, it looks like a little pickle from the outside and once it is cut open it bursts with tons of perfect little citrus pearls that pop in your mouth when bitten into.
Twelve years ago my father took a chance on finger limes. He discovered them while attending a citrus exhibition hosted by UC Riverside. At that time, finger limes were only growing in Australia, their native country. My father planted the finger limes as soon as he could get his hands on the trees in 2005, making him the first finger lime grower in the US. Fast forward 5 years to 2010 and the finger lime trees were beginning to produce their first commercial crop.
I got a surprising call from my father in the fall of 2010 asking me if I would like to move home and work with him to help introduce finger limes to the world. Yes, please! I put in my two weeks’ notice and got home as fast as I could. I could not wait to find out what was in store for me back at the ranch.
Just this week we are moving into our seventh year of harvesting our finger limes. For the last several years, our finger limes have mostly been sold to restaurants and export markets. Finger lime trees are very slow growing and it took a while to produce enough fruit to be able to offer to grocery stores, but we have finally reached that point.
We made the decision a few years ago to brand our finger limes ‘Citriburst Finger Limes’. The word ‘Citriburst’ came about because we wanted the name to describe both the flavor and texture that the finger lime provides. Our retail packaging is designed to catch the shoppers attention and explains the infinite ways that finger limes can be used in everyday cooking (Hint: pan seared scallops, ceviche, grilled salmon, mixed into salad dressings, squeezed into plain yogurts, infused into cocktails, etc.). We also have several recipes listed on the website to get the creative juices flowing.
And this season we are launching a brand new way to get your Citriburst pearls. We had an extraction machine manufactured that pulls the pearls from the rind so they can be jarred for the kind of quick serving chefs, mixologists, and home culinary adventurers need when plating in a hurry. All the processing happens at our farm in Morro Bay to ensure optimal freshness.
The trees are loaded this week and we are just beginning harvest for the season. The weather is warm and the trees are soaking up the sun. I’m keeping my finger limes crossed that you love Citriburst Finger Limes as much as we do!