Have you ever been amazed by that burst of zest you get from a lemon that adds just the right amount of tang to your tea or lemon meringue pie? Or perhaps the fresh sweetness from an orange or mandarin that brightens up a fruit salad and gives you a boost of Vitamin C?
The creation of that citrus flavour more than likely originated in the Eastern Cape, where the majority of citrus in South Africa are produced. The citrus harvest spans mostly over the months from March to October, and Ncedisa plays a vital role in supporting farmers in the picking, packing and export process, which sees high volumes of citrus exported to various destinations across the world.
Citrus farming is definitely a trade of patience, passion and care as it takes three to five years for a tree to spring blossoms and then become fruit-bearing. A citrus tree has a lifespan of about 18-30 years if farmed, nurtured, and harvested responsibly. Handpicking helps sustain the natural environment and nurtures the orchard to yield the best harvest year after year.
Ncedisa delivers tailor-made solutions to the agricultural sector that will optimise sustainable income for farmers, while creating rewarding experiences for the workforce. One of these services is the harvesting teams that specialise in a “Pick25” system, ideal for citrus picking. This is a picking team made up of 25 well trained and seasoned fruit pickers. The team may further be segmented into 6-8 members or incentive picking fruit into a crate.
Ncedisa employs over 500 citrus pickers throughout the season, who are committed, well experienced, energetic, and share in the same vision of sustainability and prosperity for the farmer. These dedicated teams handpick citrus fruit one by one, with care whilst applying stringent criteria.
Each season there are thousands of citrus fruit being individually handpicked and examined according to colour, size, and taste. The fruit is checked for blemishes or bruises and also weight tested, because the heavier the fruit, the juicer and tastier it will be. The peel should have small fine dimples and the rind should give off a strong sweet citrus smell indicating it’s a perfect time to be picked.
The next time you relish in that burst of citrus from your favourite beverage, dessert or meal, thank the workers and the farmer for their patience to nurture the orchard and the picker who hand-picked that flavour just for you.