Giosuè Arcoria, owner and farmer of the citrus grove where our fragrant oranges are grown, explains to us a typical day in his life.
A citrus grove is like a child. It can never be left unattended and is in constant need of care, attention and, most importantly, love. Giosuè Arcoria, owner and farmer of the citrus grove where the oranges for Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Drinks are grown, explains to us a typical day in his life:
How do you start your day?
“Every morning, I wake up very early and make a tour of the fields checking the development of each plant. Early morning is my preferred time as the orchard is still dark and silent”.
“I check the leaves, orange blossoms and fruits, and decide which plants require fertilising or protecting from danger. At the end of the tour, as the sun is rising, I meet my team and assign tasks for the day.”
What sort of tasks will your team do in the day?
“Tasks can include fertilisation, opening the beehives that help pollination (the farm also produces its own honey), or manually collecting the fruit with scissors and hand tools in a method that follows traditions lasting hundreds of years. Only the most experienced farmers are in charge of collecting the citrus fruit because even the smallest mistake could damage the entire plant. It is for this reason that the younger workers become apprentices learning from the older workers for years before they are able to do it by themselves unsupervised.”
What happens at lunchtime?
“After carrying out the work in the morning, all the farmers sit down for a simple Mediterranean lunch. A typical meal could include spaghetti with tomato sauce, bread, cheese, fresh vegetables, and of course a nice orange. Lunch is a chance to exchange news on what has been happening around the citrus grove.”
And after lunch?
“After lunch it’s back to the field to complete the tasks for the day. Normally the day finishes as the sun sets.”
How does one train to become a citrus grove farmer?
“This isn’t a job that you learn in a classroom, but instead on the field. The craft has been passed down from generation to generation and only those who prove to have a great passion for citrus fruit will be able to work in this industry. The knowledge here in Sicily is passed on through words, gestures and anecdotes that are intrinsically linked to the local nature and way of life.”
“Being a citrus farmer is not an easy job. It requires physical strength, patience and sacrifice. But it is also a very satisfying role, a noble kind of work, that dates back centuries and is innately linked to the land of Sicily itself.”