March 1, 2021
Sunshine: It's About Time

My mental health is waning. Perhaps my lunar sanity cycle is long. It’s been winnowing down to a sliver for many months now. But, they tell me the days are getting longer, and that spring will come again. Local farmers are planting peas in hoop houses, and soon we’ll do the same in our front yard garden beds. 

We plant peas on St. Patrick's Day. Of course, that means it will also be the pandemic anniversary. Anyone in Boston remembers that there were, incredibly, still crowds of people in bars on St. Patrick’s Day last year.

No matter how I process it, these first months of 2021 have been extra hard. There’s all the obvious reasons: coup, unemployment, zoom school überfatigue, and such a desire for perhaps just 1-2 days to think and write and dream, apart from the beloved family members with whom I’ve been together every day for the last year. 

But it’s also all the reminders of how we spent this time last year. A work trip to Silicon Valley, where I squeezed in time with my cousin, roaming Berkeley, buying pastries and records and boardgames. An unforgettable speaking gig at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, capped off by a slopeside spread of beer, raclette and rosti under Alpine blue skies. And our family February break, visiting aunts in Los Angeles, soaking up sun in Palm Springs, and exploring the desert hills of Pioneertown and Yucca Valley. We had booked the trip on a last minute whim, and I will be forever grateful for it.

Cara and I were recently texting about our shared longing for a beach nap, and she suggested our vacation memories will need to serve us a little while longer, like Frederick the mouse, who stored up sunshine and color, to share as poetry with his little mouse den friends during the most difficult parts of winter. 

One of my LA aunts recently moved, leaving her house in the valley where she had a prolific lemon tree. I visited her after a work trip in 2019, and she sent me back to Boston with a suitcase full of sunshine - er - lemons. I shared some, preserved the rest, and now I have one small smidge left for one last salad. Our last physical piece left from that house, along with decades of memories of family meals.  

Growing up, my parents always put an orange in each of our stocking, and I’ve continued the tradition, often to my children’s annoyance, with my family. A quick search explains all the obvious reasons for this: the easy comparisons to sunshine and gold during winter’s shortest days. A leftover from the hard days of the depression when a sweet juicy orange was a true luxury.

My great-grandparents Belle and Jessie moved from Kansas to California at this time, with my grandmother and great uncle in tow. Their struggles are part of our family history, and have inspired my parents, and now me, as we’ve hit hard financial times through the years. 

The citrus in the toe of our stockings, or preserved at the bottom of a jar, are a reminder of sunshine. Of gold. Of hope.

And so it’s no surprise that citrus brings me such joy in the winter. It’s one thing to visit a California market in January, when the produce section greets you with an almost explicit vibrant bounty. But even our New England grocers now offer us clementines, tangerines and satsuma. 

Like Frederic, we offer these memories of sunshine and creative citrus bursts during what feels like an extremely grey time. As we work to build mutual aid networks and models in our communities, both physical and digital, we’d like to connect in this way with some of you and offer spiritual mutual aid. We hope these recipes inspire you all to share sunshine with each other, and for our local Boston friends, let us know at the bottom if you’d like to be part of our first sharing experiment. 

Here’s what we’ve been doing most recently with citrus, and how we’ve been sharing our sunshine. 


These feel fancy, whether floating in a special drink, in a vase, or catching light in a window, and are actually super easy. I had everything from grapefruit to limes lying around, all a bit past their prime for eating, and perfect for this project. 

It's always a little bit magical to drop surprises at a friend’s house, and now it feels extra special to give and receive in this way. If we can’t be in each other’s homes sharing our warmth, a jar of these slices is a way to connect our lights from afar. 

Slice your citrus as thin and uniformly as you can. A serrated bread knife works great. Lay them out on a silicon baking mat. Optionally, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on some of the orange slices, to use in cocktails and tea. 

Turn your oven to the lowest temp: 200-225 degrees. The “warm” setting works too. After an hour or so, flip the slices, and let them bake for another hour. Some of the slices may still a bit sticky, so you can leave them in the turned off, cooling oven overnight. They’ll be perfect in the morning. 


Doritos, or favorite chips, as they were so aptly named by our dear friends, are irresistibly so favorite because they satisfy all our taste receptors. Preserved lemons bring that same umami punch, in a slightly more natural way. These are also quite easy to make. 

You will need 6-7 lemons total for a 16-ounce jar. You will eventually be eating all parts of the lemon, including the peel, so you’ll want to use Meyer or similarly thin-peel lemons, ideally organic. Scrub and dry the lemons, and then cut them into quarters almost the entire way down, so they’re only still attached slightly at one end.

Sprinkle the bottom of the jar with salt, and coat the insides of each quartered lemon with salt as well. Pack the lemons into the jar, compressing them as you go. As they’re packed in, the juice will squeeze out. This is great, because at the end you want all of the lemons to be submerged in the lemon juice from the lemons. You can use one lemon entirely for juice, and not put it into the jar, but I preferred simply packing all the lemons I could into the jar, and using the juice that came out of those lemons. It is important that the lemons be completely covered by their salty juice, so that they don’t rot. 

Check every week or so, and in 3-4 weeks you’ll have delicious, preserved lemons! These are wonderful in salads, sandwiches, on a soup, or as a garnish to brighten up any dish and add some tang. 


Here are a few sunshine songs. What songs for you are citrus?

Citrus as hope.

Citrus as sun.

Citrus as precious gold.


Would you like to join our citrus exchange? We plan to roll out a tiny exchange, sharing some of these goodies, encouraging mutual aid, and other surprises as well. If you’re in Boston and would like to join in, please tell us a little bit more about yourself . We'll choose a handful of people to share in our first project:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nicole d'Avis

A fennel loving jane of all trades. I love making bad jokes and good food with my favorite people. I'm a passionate worker at the intersections of creativity, value and justice.

Cara Torres

I'm a scrappy maker and shy extrovert looking to build radical community. Particularly fond of library books, fermentation, radishes and beach naps.

Read more
You might also be interested in these:
The Giving Was a Gift I Needed

July 1, 2021

Our business/party is growing, and giving. ENiD + RAD is becoming by doing and making. Offering ourselves to you is, as Cara put it in an insightful message to me, "the gift I needed". We are grateful that the first circle of you received our various offerings meaningfully and with grace. Thank you.
Making Space

February 8, 2021

I’ve dreamed about space creating for a long time.
Want emails from us only when it matters? Sign up here!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.