The season for organic clementines from Calabria

Clementines are a recent crossbred cultivar, presumably between mandarins and oranges. As a rule, they are mostly seedless and have an aromatic peel, which is easy to separate from the fruit itself. The flesh is mild, aromatic and sweet.
Calabrian clementines are regarded as the best clementines, and that is why even their geographical origin is protected. It is the climate of the growing areas on the tip of the boot of Italy, which is conducive for growing clementines, since it is one of the sunniest areas of Italy but it is nevertheless mild due to the proximity of the sea. Various citrus fruits and olives are the main produce of Calabria. Other than that the region is rather weak structurally, with high levels of unemployment. The dramatic collapse in the price of conventionally-grown fruit in recent decades forced many producers to give up or to leave the area. But in the 1990s a new opportunity in the market presented itself to the producers, notably the increasing demand for organically-grown fruit.

We have prepared a profile of two of our Calabrian organic Clementine suppliers for you.

Sole e Natura di Renato Falco

Even in his early twenties, Renato Falco was convinced that a good crop could be obtained even without resorting to the use of pesticides. In the meantime, Renato Falco, now 48-years old, proves, year-in and year-out, that this is possible with technical agricultural expertise and by spending a bit more. His organic clementines grow on a 30 hectare plot. In addition to this, he works in a producer co-operative together with two other smallish operations which he supports and whose fruit he picks and markets. This consequently means that at the end of the year clementines are grown on more than 40 hectares.

In order to keep the clementine season going for as long as possible, he grows an early and late sort of clementines, Corsica 2 and Hernandina. From about mid-October to January of the following year, the clementines are picked, and washed, and graded in the modern storage facility with 1,300 m² floor space.
The family-run firm Sole e Natura has been working together with BioTropic since 1999. Ecocert- and GlobalGAP certified, it fulfils all the basic requirements of a committed organic operation.

Frutta Bio: Az. Agricola Sammarro Massimo

Six years ago Massimo Sammarro (34) took over the "Azienda Agricola" from his father. At that time the grove had already been in the possession of his family for 40 years. In order to make the farm viable as a business in the future, he had extensive modernisation work carried out: since then a photovoltaic system has been generating the electricity for the irrigation system, new types of root stocks ensure that the plants are more robust. In addition to this, to extend the clementine season he has added various early and late clementine plants: e.g. Caffin, Spinoso, Hernadina and Tardivol. They extend the availability of Clementines from the beginning of October to the end of January.

The about 17 hectare agricultural operation is located in the plain of Sibari, the main area in Italy for growing clementines. The climate and the soil ensure a balanced sugar-acidity ratio and therefore juicy and aromatic fruit.
Massimo Sammarro produces for the Calabrian organic marketer "Frutta Bio", of which he is also a shareholder.
Massimo has been using organic methods of cultivation for 14 years. He became a supplier to BioTropic eight years ago. He is GlobalGap certified and since this year he has even been working to Naturland guidelines.


the colour of the peel is not indicative of how ripe clementines and other citrus fruit are. Consequently, anyone who says that they have to be of lovely orange or yellow colour must be joking. The colour of the peel depends upon the difference in temperature between day and night while the fruit is still on the tree. Cool nights in the winter months give the peel its bright orange colour. This means that at the beginning of the season clementines can certainly still have a green streak in the peel and nevertheless be juicy and tasty. After the harvest the peel of conventionally-grown citrus fruit is often treated with wax and anti-fungal agents. Ecologically-grown clementines, on the other hand, are picked when they are fully ripe with care and finger-tip feeling to avoid damaging the peel.

Tags: Azienda Agricola (GB), Clementines (GB), GLOBAL G.A.P (GB), Italy (GB), Naturland (GB), Sole e Natura (GB)

Print Email

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.