Food and drink, Oranges: fruit of the Algarve

Oranges: fruit of the Algarve


If there is one sight that is sure to lift the spirits in the middle of winter, it is the sight of oranges growing all over the Algarve, in large and medium-sized groves and in the smallest of gardens. The problem the owners of the orange trees face is what to do with the vast quantity of oranges that they produce. It appears that orange farming is not a profitable business. While the large producers are able to afford to pay for the maintenance and harvesting of the crop and are able to distribute their oranges, most smallholders aren’t able to sell their oranges at a high enough price to cover the spraying, pruning and picking of the oranges, which is why so many oranges are left to rot on the tree or in piles on the ground. Some smallholders sell them on stalls along the side of the road. Driving from Faro to Carvoeiro along the EN125 on Christmas Eve I lost count of the number of stalls I spotted selling freshly picked oranges at the bargain price of €1 for a small bag, €2 for a large bag or three large bags for €5. The oranges during the winter months are at their best as a result of the Algarve’s mild climate, constant sunshine and occasional rain. They are juicy and sweet and perfect for juicing.