These are busy days, and smell of orange and marmalade. Crews come from the countryside bringing the best fruit, and many women are preparing the boxes full of our Gospa Citrus organic Seville oranges. These boxes are a gift of taste and love of our land for all the British people who appreciate them so much.
Our farm is in the province of Seville (southern Spain), and specifically, we are in Mairena del Alcor, which in ancient Arabic means ‘abundant water between rolling hills’. Romans and Arabs passed through here, and also the British.
I have been involved in growing Seville oranges since I was a child. At my parents’ house, this time of year was filled with expectation. Even the word ‘Seville’ (said in English) rang in my mind because that’s what they called our bitter oranges that went to the UK.
The seasonal workers would go to the fields early to pick the fruit. That same afternoon, they were cleaned, graded and packed for their final destination. Today I am still living the same process, alongside my sons and daughters, while technology and organic farming have done the rest: the Sevilles arrive in the UK earlier, and are carefully grown according to standards of organic production, respecting the environment now and for the future.
This season has been marked by pandemic and confinement, which has given the countryside an unusual tranquility. The Sevilles have plenty of juice, very high levels of pectin and excellent ripening. The ones we send to Riverford are our best in many years, full of amazing nuances. Seville oranges are considered the queens for marmalade, because of their important pectin and fragrance levels.
Our soil and water are also rich in minerals such as phosphorus and iron, so our Sevilles have a special bittersweet taste, which makes extraordinary and award-winning marmalade. Seville oranges are also bitter thanks to an organic compound called neohesperidin. Because of this, it is best to make marmalade or cook with them. Trust me, your house will smell amazing.
Click here for how to make marmalade.