My father loves Key lime pie. Though he's a hematologist who you'd want cooking your dinner about as badly as you'd want Mario Batali doing your bone-marrow transplant, he claims that his palate can differentiate between Key lime pies made from fresh Key lime juice and those made from concentrate. So, for his 55th birthday, I decided to buy my father a Key lime tree.
After doing a search online, I found Four Winds Growers, a California nursery that specializes in dwarf citrus trees. Most of these trees reach a maximum height of six feet, yet bear full-size fruit. For $35, I could have a one-year-old dwarf Key lime tree shipped directly to my New York City apartment within a week.
I e-mailed the service rep, Toby, at Four Winds to discuss my purchase. "I want to buy a dwarf Key lime tree for my father," I wrote, "but he lives in Massachusetts and, knowing my father, the tree probably won't get much light, water or fertilizer. Will this be a problem?"