Skip to main content

News from the farm   |   Farming

A marmalade time of year

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.

Seville oranges are in season now.

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.

Seville orchard
Iron and phosphorus in the soil add to the Sevilles' natural bitterness. 

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.



    8 Months

    I make over 100 jars of marmalade with Amanda's oranges and my neighbours and passers by can't wait for the new batch of marmalade to arrive - it is the BEST EVER because of the way they are grown.

    0 Reply

    Amadora Gahona

    Amadora Gahona has been growing organic Seville oranges for many years, and now runs Gospa Citrus with her family, supplying oranges from their own groves and other small local farms.

    Wicked Leeks is out now

    With a focus on regenerative farming, a cover interview with ethical restaurateur Asma Khan and we answer your questions on price, plastic and organic farming. Plus the joy of seasonal summer eating.

    Read more

    Leading the Veg Revolution

    Shop seasonal organic veg boxes or explore Riverford's recipe hub, for veg help and foodie inspiration.

    Go to Riverford

    How to cook with a veg box

    From meal planning to unusual veg: food writer Stacey Smith talks through how to cook with a veg box.

    Read more
    Spread the word

    The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity losses will be the defining stories of our future, but it is not too late to change direction. 

    Here at Wicked Leeks, our mission is to help inform and inspire positive change. Our journalism is free to all because of this, but we want to reach as many people as possible who share our desire for a better world. We know our readers are some of the biggest advocates of sustainable living, and you can help us grow this movement by sharing this article widely, with your friends and on social media. Now is the time to act.