A lemon tree can yield more than 1,000 lemons a year that require careful handpicking, most of the world’s bergamot oranges are produced in a small protected area in Calabria, Italy, and an orange tree can continue to fruit after 50-80 years. Let us take you through the fascinating world of citrus fruit farming!
CITRUS FRUIT FARMING FACTS
Citrus fruit trees have come a long way from being ornamental objects in private gardens of aristocrats in the 17th century, to being the fruit that we all get to enjoy. Farming techniques however are something that is steeped in tradition with knowledge that has been gathered and passed down through generations. It requires ”a true passion”, says our citrus grove farmer Giosuè Arcoria, owner and farmer of the citrus grove that provides many of the oranges for Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Drinks.
Here are some facts on citrus farming that you may not know:
- Citrus fruit require balmy temperatures and most don’t do well with frost. This is why the warmer Southern Italian regions - Sicily, Campania and Puglia, produces some of the world’s best citrus fruit.
- In conjunction with the balmy temperatures, warm sea breezes also play a role in producing the perfect citrus fruit. With the lemon groves by the Mediterranean Sea, the trees closest to the sea will be ready for picking earlier than those further upland.
- The sour orange is known to be one of the hardier varieties, and some have been known to survive several hundred years!
- On the steep cliffs of Amalfi and Sorrento, many citrus groves are still only accessible by steep staircases through which, even today, fruit is transported on the shoulders of farmers. This is where the world famous Limone di Amalfi and Limone di Sorrento are produced.
Citrus fruit are easily crossed between each other, whether by human interventions or by chance of nature. The thousands of varieties of citrus that we have now were originated from just three citrus ancestors – the pomelo, mandarin and citron.