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"The organoleptic properties are incomparable"

Spain: Clementines and oranges from 60 year old trees

This year, the citrus market will present a unique product: clementines and oranges from trees that are over 60 years old and which will be sold directly from the field.

"In 1956, my grandfather planted the first Fina clementina trees in the Ebro Delta, in the south of Tarragona. They are huge trees that we have been looking after with great care since they were planted. They need more care than a young tree, so normally, citrus trees for large-scale production are discarded when they are 30 or 35 years old," explains Elisenda Franquet, CEO of Mandarinas del Abuelo, a third generation grower, together with his brother José Franquet.

"Over the years, the trees we've had in our plantations have been dying and we have replanted with other varieties, such as Clemenules or Satsumas, although we decided to continue preserving the maximum number possible of old Fina clementine and Navel Washington and Thompson orange from 1956. We produce about 80,000 kilos of Fina clementines and around 5,000 kilos of old Navel, so production is very limited," she says.

According to Elisenda, Fina clementines have a flavour of their own, since "they are the clementines from which the current commercial varieties originated. Given that their size is smaller and the tree is not as productive or resistant to climatic adversities, such as frost or strong winds, other varieties derived from them became fashionable over the years. The organoleptic properties of the Fina mandarin of these trees are not comparable to those of other clementines in the market. Moreover, we are selling the first Fina clementines that were planted here, so we are talking about a totally unique and gourmet product."

"Under the brand Mandarinas del Abuelo (Grandpa's Mandarins), these clementines will be distributed to gourmet stores and from our website, where consumers can place their orders directly." So far, we had always sold via the cooperative, but we believe that we can find new ways to market such a special product," she says.

In about a month, the first Fina clementines will hit the market in what will be their 61st season, while the first Navel oranges are expected to be harvested in mid-January.

"We want to stand out for selling a totally unique product in terms of flavour, since we don't use degreening chambers; we sell the fruit directly after harvesting and packaging it." We are concerned about the environment, so in addition to having the integrated production label and using the minimum amount of chemical products possible, we will allocate a part of the revenue generated to addressing the environmental problems in the Ebro Delta. This year, in particular, the aid will go to protect bees, whose population has been reduced in recent years," says Elisenda Franquet.

The plantations are located in the Masía de Vernis, which is now a rural accommodation where visitors can enjoy bike rides to learn about the delights of the Ebro Delta, learning how to grow both these citrus fruits and rice, which is also a popular crop.

For more informationn:
Mandarinas del Abuelo
Elisenda Franquet
José Franquet
Avda.Generalitat 73
43500 Tortosa (Tarragona).
M:+34 679919251
T: +34 977441843

Publication date: 11/16/2017


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