Our organic wild orange garden in Noto, Sicily grows lemons, grapefruit, limes, and a variety of oranges: clementines, Valencia, mandarin, and more.
The superb oranges from the little island resemble hot fire on emerald branches – Abd al Rahman al Itrabanishi
Gli aranci superbi dell’isoletta sembrano fuoco ardente su rami di smeraldo – Abd al Rahman al Itrabanishi
There’s a lot of confusion about the definition of “Wild” oranges. This is especially prevalent with the influx of marketing using this term for foodservice and retail products.
- Citrus Aurantium
- Wild Orange
- Bitter Orange
- Seville Orange
- Sour Orange
The first name indicated in history for the Wild Orange is Huang Kan (China 220 AC), seeing as it is a fruit that originates from China. And in northern Europe it is currently referred to as Apfelsine, Apelsin, Apel’sin, known as an apple, ‘Apel’, from China, ‘Sin’.
Wild oranges are historical to our land. For thousands of years, our fields were filled with only one varietal of citrus, and that was the prolific Wild Orange. The Wild Orange is bitter, low in natural sugar, and has a very flavorful rind — extremely different from the traditional Sweet Orange that dominates the market now.
Because the Wild Orange fruit was not confectionery sweet, its juice was not consumed as a traditional beverage but used mostly for savory applications such as a marinade for meats and fish. The outside skin was grated and often used for bold flavor contribution to various goods and famous sweets.
Sicily was introduced to citrus diversities during the Arabian domination. Therefore the Sweet Orange that we know started to get cultivated only after the new world discovery of America.
It was reported to be growing in Sicily in 1002 A.D., and it was cultivated around Seville, Spain, at the end of the 12th Century. For 500 years, it was the only orange in Europe and it was the first orange to reach the New World. It was naturalized in Mexico by 1568 and in Brazil by 1587, and not long after it was running wild in the Cape Verde Islands, Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Barbados. Sir Walter Raleigh took sour orange seeds to England; they were planted in Surrey and the trees began bearing regular crops in 1595, but were killed by cold in 1739 https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/sour_orange.html
In Southern Italy, all citrus varietals are grafted on wild orange rootstock. This proven method allows us to leverage the strength and resilience of wild orange.
Even today you can find Wild Orange in Mexican markets called Naranja Agria. From China to the Mediterranean to North Europe to Mexico…how food travels!
Sicilian origin citrus is one of the most famous in the world — this is because Sicily is the ideal climate for citrus. We focus on removing the monoculture approach, we leave a diversity of citrus trees and herbs wild, and we take care to produce whole organic fruits, essential oils, and other natural personal care items.
Visit our farm or contact us to learn more