We are two families from a Valencian town called Burriana that over four generations has been growing oranges. For over a century, customers have been able to taste our orange through retailers, now Ole mi huerta! wants you to taste our orange directly, without intermediaries, just picked from the tree with its original taste and freshness.

Speaking of oranges in Burriana is to speak of an ancient tradition that is part of the lives of many families of here. Also, because of its importance and pioneering nature, is a very significant part of the history of the Valencia orange growing.

China oranges and mandarin chinese...

Initially the citric that was known in Europe since before the Greeks was the citrus, "Citrus Medica". The Citrus because of its bitter taste was not consumed as fruit but, as its scientific name suggests, had medicinal use and also for its aroma, its skin was used in pastry.
The bitter orange, "Citrus Aurantium", has its origin in south-east China, Indochina and India; and it was the Arabs in the ninth century who brought it to Europe. Its name comes from the Sanskrit "nâranga" which is as it was in India called this fruit; this name with some variations is used in Europe to refer to oranges consumed today.
Sweet orange, "Citrus Sinensis", also comes from Asia and is believed that were the Genoese through their trade routes who introduced it in Europe in the fifteenth century.
Finally, tangerine, "Citrus Reticulata", appeared in Europe in the early nineteenth century. Because of Chinese origin it was given the "mandarin" name in playful allusion to the name the leaders in China, at the end this was the word that is used today.

Although the sweet orange came to Spain in the fifteenth century, the cultivation of the orange was mainly in Andalusia and its production was rather oriented to self-consumption and some small trade at regional level.
In the late eighteenth century was when in Valencia started the cultivation of the sweet orange.Specifically, in two locations, one north in an area of Castellon de la Plana and other south in Carcajente.

With respect to the mandarin, in 1845 Ripalda Count starts the acclimatization of grafts in Valencia. It was not until 1856 when in an area of Castellon de la Plana, because of its climate and characteristics, that José Polo successfully starts growing mandarin.



The origins of the orange trade

The Mallorcan pioneered trade in orange. Soller Specifically, there are official documents of the late eighteenth century in which provisions are made regarding the export of oranges.
At that time the trader was the boat owner who bought directly the harvest to the farmer and transported it to southern France and Catalonia for sale. It is for this trader-carrier duality that in the early nineteenth century because of the crops disease problems in Mallorca the traders migrated to the Valencia coast and cultivation in the Levant region began to gain importance.

Specifically between 1825 and 1830 begins the cultivation and export of oranges in the area of Castellón de la Plana (first Villareal and then Almazora and Burriana).
In 1849 it was made the first export of oranges to England.

Valencia shipowners built in 1860 in England steamboat Turia creating a regular line to London for the export of oranges.

In the decade from 1860 to 1870 the export boom makes the "marjales", areas where wheat and hemp was grown, were turned into orange groves. Thus the cultivation that was originary from Carcajente and La Plana areas was gradually expanded into Valencia Region.

Concretelly, in Burriana went from 400 orchards in 1840 to occupy the 85% of the municipality acreage in the late nineteenth century.


Cultivation and export in the nineteenth century

The orange in the nineteenth century was exported by sea, as land transport was hard. Burriana, due to its coastal location, was the departure point of all the orange produced in the province. The total volume of shippments from Burriana represented, depending on the year, between 20 and 30% of total Spanish exports.

The shipment, specifically, was done in the "Grao de Burriana". This coastal area is right next to the "Clot de la Mare de Deu" that is a wetland in which a river ran in the antiquity making a small roadstead for anchoring boats.
The boxes were transported in large horse-drawn carts to the "Grao", there were stores on the beach line where boxes were prepared for export.

However, at that time shipping the orange boxes was not an easy task, not so much because normal boxes weighed 50kg and large ones 100kg, but for the small detail that there was no port.
For the shippment were used barges stranded on the shore that once loaded were dragged into the sea by oxen. Although the process seems rudimentary had its wits, because besides of using sticks to slide the boat, it was used a pulley system; one of them called "top" was an anchor located in the sea and the other called "home mort" was a located ground iron hook, thus it could properly apply and multiply the strength to beach or take the barges out. Even so, it was hard work and were required men called "banyaors" which in winter had to go in the water to engage and disengage the barge to the oxen yoke.


Another method was the "cárrega in sura" in which, when the sea allowed it, people entered the sea with the box on his shoulder and deposited in the boat.


The twentieth century, Burriana, Paris and London.

In the late nineteenth century the exports volume never ceased growing, thanks to rising demand and the work of the first traders who ventured abroad with poor training and speaking only valencian language.
The main markets were Britain and France, therefore when Burriana peole saw the relevance the city was getting, the coined the phrase "Burriana, Paris and London" in a rather boastful way but that reflected the pride of being from Burriana (and today still partially in force in some Burriana people's mind..).

In view of the volume of exports it was obvious the need for a port in Burriana. In 1898 a London fruit trader, Isaac & Sons, built a wharf whose duration was rather short-lived because that same year the British ship "Breidablick" left him battered; although it was rebuilt at the end of a cyclone wiped it out years later.
As the orange export was increasing, in 1903 the Burriana citizen Joaquín Fuentes Peris, won an individual concession to create a commercial port and in 1910 presented a project for construction by a corporation.
However the project did not prosper and in 1917 he had no choice but to sell to the council the concession so much effort and money it cost.

Things changed with the arrival on the scene of Jaime Chicharro, Deputy to Court for Nules district, with his efforts it was achieved a Court budget approval for the port and its railroad for an amount of more than 6 million pesetas.
The final plan was drawn up by engineer Luis Oliveros, in 1923 the works were awarded to Mr.José Friberg, but it was not until 1925-26 when they won the final push of the Primo de Rivera Civil Directory to start the work.
In 1927 from the Levante dock departed the first ship with oranges in their cellars and in 1932 was ended the port.
In gratitude, Jaime Chicharro, a native of Torralba de Calatrava (Ciudad Real), was declared adoptive son of Burriana.


The current situation

It could be said that until the decade of the sixties, the phrase "Burriana, Paris and London" has remained in force, as the orange growing was not only profitable for traders but also for farmers.

However from the seventies the situation both in Burriana and the rest of the Valencia Region, has changed. Citric growing has become global and now prevail quality rather than the price.

Given this scenario, the growing has ceased to be profitable, since not only the climate during the year must allow a good harvest but also the prices paid for the orange den to cover costs.

Hence the only options are, reinvent yourself or die. Given the price difference between the origin and final consumer prices, one alternative is to skip all the intermediary and taking advantage of new technologies to deliver a high quality product directly to consumers.





Friday, November 28

Mandarines are ripe!!

Whenever you want, you can order.

Saturday, February 26

We accept shippments to EC countries!
Shippments are sent every Monday (Tuesday also for France orders).

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