Valencia oranges aren’t ready for harvest yet, but driving through Tustin over the weekend we stopped at the Nisson Ranch honor system fruit stand at the corner of Walnut and Redhill to see what else might be on offer. There were kumquats, which will be perfect in a relish for roast pork. And gargantuan, creamy Fuerte avocadoes—Fuerte is a definite second-favorite to Hass, but Nisson Fuertes have always been best in category. My little Meyer lemon tree is so loaded I was able to refrain, though there were both Meyers and Eurekas available.
But we also got some sad news. A memorial sign indicated that Matt Nisson, the owner of the ranch, has died—in the house where he was born 91 years ago. Over many years of stopping at the stand, we loved the chance to chat with him when he was about. Though laconic, he had a twinkle in his eye, and was always ready to talk citrus. If we were really lucky, his beautiful dog Polo, something like a cross between a German shepherd and an Irish wolfhound, would amble through the gate to say hello as well.
There’s a nice obit in the Orange County Register, here. The family plans to keep the honor system stand going, which is about the best tribute I can imagine. This means that, come July-ish, we’ll be able to buy mesh bags of the very best Valencias, and say thank you to Matt Nisson as we always have.