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Meet the Lemon Lady

Diablo speaks to Anna Chan, aka the "Lemon Lady" who harvests local fruits for the needy around the Bay Area


Photo by Katrine Naleid

It’s been nearly a year since  Clayton resident Anna Chan picked her first lemon for the needy and was dubbed the “Lemon Lady.” Her mission of harvesting fruit from local front yards and farmers markets, and taking it to food pantries has made Chan into a local legend—and a Bay Area Jefferson Award winner for community service.

Diablo: Do you only pick lemons?

Anna Chan: I find what’s in season. And there’s such a bounty to choose from: pears, apples, persimmons—the list goes on. It’s like a game to get there when the fruit is ready. Loquats and apricots have the fastest season. I missed apricots by a couple of days. They had all fallen to the ground by the time I got there.

How has your life changed since you became the Lemon Lady?

One reason I started was to take my daughter, Ava, out on little adventures. She was two years old when we started, and she couldn’t speak. She speaks now. She says “lemon” and “orange,” and points out the trees. She’s my little scout.

What’s your favorite fruit?

I just picked some pomegranates on Farm Bureau Road from this gentleman who brought the tree here from Afghanistan 30 years ago. They were the best pomegranates I’ve ever tasted.

What’s the best part of the process: finding the trees, picking the fruit, or helping the needy?

Oh, picking the fruit is the best part. I love being under a tree and looking at the sky. It’s heaven to look up and see that there’s something to eat, right above you, ready to fall from the tree.

Visit thelemonlady.blogspot.com to read about Chan’s adventures. 

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