The citrus groves include antique implantations (up to one hundred years old) and more recent ones, achieved on modern graft carriers that are immune to the Tristeza virus. Among the citrus varieties that we produce we can find (in order of ripening), Primosole mandarins, Naveline oranges, Tarocco oranges (nucellar, common, scirè, tapi and “abandoned”), Moro oranges (also nucellar and common), Femminello lemon, Piretto lemon, pink grapefruit, Nova and Late clementines, Sour orange, Ciaculli mandarin, Sanguinello, Lanelate and Valencia oranges.
Our implantations are often achieved through the sixth and against sixth scheme, a kind of juxtaposition that cohabits two different varieties. This system allows for higher variety (and quantity) of production, but, with plants reaching their full development, this system also strains the soil. For this reason, after some years, one of the two varieties must be removed.
Due to the Tristeza virus we also practice density increase, which means that we plant young trees that are immune to the virus, amongst old, sick trees. As the new trees grow, the old ones get downsized and eventually eliminated. This practice reduces the period of unproductiveness that comes from new implantations (in the organic regime, to enter into full production a citrus tree takes up to 8 years) and, due to the foliage of the “grandfather” trees, it creates protection from wind, freezing, and the summer sun to the small, young trees.
The pruning occurs in biannual cycles, and is distinguished between heavy and light pruning. Heavy pruning intervenes on the shape of the tree and its structure, and it is done with the help of chainsaws. Lighter pruning is done with hacksaws and scissors and is used to disentangle branches, reduce dryness, and permit overall correct development to the trees.
An aim for the future is to thin out the citrus implantations and allow growth of plants (herbs and shrubs) in the passageways. This association could allow a natural rebalancing of resources in the terrain, moving closer to a more sustainable, closed cycle production model.
On our farm we do not have actual olive groves. The Cipressino, Ascolana, Moresca, Bella di Spagna and Etna Nucellare trees are arranged like a fan around the citrus groves, offering protection by containing and breaking the wind. They are productive plants, but have a low olive oil yield even though they absorb part of the irrigation water destined to the citrus groves. On the contrary, the table olives come out large, crunchy and plump.
Other trees that grow on our farm are apricot, peach, almond, medlar, mulberry, fig, walnut, avocado and lotus trees.
All of our trees are fertilized through natural techniques (sheep manure) and pruned manually.