Ncedisa citrus pickers will this season aid Habata Agriculture in harvesting roughly around 1200 hectares of citrus that includes but is not limited to Genoa and Eureka lemons, soft citrus, like the Nova, Tango, and Nadorcott mandarins, as well as the ever-popular Navel and Valencia oranges.
Ncedisa farmworkers will play an indispensable role in picking around 100 000 crates, each weighing 400kg, adding up to an equivalent of an estimated 40 million tonnes of citrus.
From zesty yellow lemons, the bold and tangy oranges, and the sweet, easy peeling soft citrus fondly referred to as naartjies in South Africa, read a little further to find out a bit more about each variety’s unique properties.
The Genoa lemon was introduced to South Africa in 1998 and originated from Genoa, Italy. This variety tends to bear fruit at the bottom of the tree because this is its natural way of protecting fruit from sunburn and cold temperatures.
Of all the lemon variants, the Genoa fruit is larger in size, with a bright yellow, thin, and mostly smooth rind. Seed counts vary from nil to 6 per fruit, and the pulp is a subtle yellow colour, that has ample juice loaded with Vitamin C.
The Genoa lemon peel has elevated oil properties that are aromatic and flavourful, perfect for adding a little zest in marinades and beverages.
The Eureka lemon was originally first produced in California and is now one of the most widely grown lemon cultivars. In addition, the Eureka SL™ lemon was developed by the ARC-ITSC’s mutation breeding programme in Musina, South Africa, and is the world’s first truly seedless lemon variety.
This lemon is oval-shaped, and the rind, considered to be thin with sunken oil glands resulting in a textured skin that is a vibrant yellow colour. The flesh inside the fruit is very juicy with a tart lemon flavour. Properties of the fruit include having a higher juice content with elevated acidity levels.
Out of the many lemon varieties, the Eureka is a popular fruit because it has few to no pips, holds raised Vitamin C volumes with high oil levels that provide an intense citrus aroma and flavouring properties. Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and in particular, the Eureka lemon is a great source of Vitamin C.
The Nova mandarin is a mixed variant between a Clementine and a Tangelo incorporating flavour and characteristic benefits from both variants. Although the Nova Mandarin, with its thin and slightly pebbled rind, is somewhat more difficult to peel, it remains extremely popular because of its juicy, sweet, flavoured flesh with very few seeds.
Inside the Nova mandarin, each segment has a deep orange colour flesh that contains high sugar levels giving it that delightful, sweet taste. It is a medium to large-sized fruit, with a deep orange to almost red colour skin that releases its distinctive tang.
Nova mandarins are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre while also containing vitamin A and calcium.
The Tango mandarin is exceptionally popular because it is an easy peeling soft citrus. This medium to large-sized fruit is loaded with flavour and has minimum to no seeds.
The fruit has a thin, smooth, and deep orange colour rind with many small oil glands that provide a rich aroma and release essential oils. The soft flesh that is mostly seedless, is filled with a flavourful sweet juice. What makes this fruit even more sought after is the fact that it has a long shelf life.
Tango mandarins are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
This fruit originated when a Nadorcott mandarin was selected from a population of Murcott seedlings planted in 1964 at INRA experimental station near the village of Afourer, Morocco.
While being a fruit that is more petite size-wise, the Nadorcott still holds tons of flavour. The wonderfully sweet and deep orange coloured flesh is generally seedless and known for having a good balance between sweet flavours and acidity levels.
The Nadorcott’s bright orange and aromatic skin cling loosely around the flesh making this an exceptionally easy to peel and consume fruit.
Nadorcotts have a high vitamin C content and are rich in nutrients such as potassium, fibre, vitamin A, calcium, thiamine, folate, magnesium, and copper.
The name of the Navel orange originates from the second undeveloped fruit found on the inside, at the blossom end of the developed fruit. The visual similarities of the undeveloped fruit resembling a person’s navel inspired this variety’s name.
This is a medium to large size fruit with a moderately thick rind that turns from green to bright orange when ripe. Because there are many oil glands found across the surface, the fruit has a pebbled texture skin. The yellow to orange-looking juicy flesh is aromatic, sweet, and contains a low acidity, producing a balanced level of sweet, tangy, and tart flavours.
Navel oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, and thiamine and contain potassium, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and calcium.
The Valencia orange is named after the city of Valencia in Spain, although its actual origins are unknown.
Valencia oranges are always in demand because of their superior juicing properties. This fruit has a high juice content that boasts a superb balance between tart and sweet flavours. An added benefit is that the fruit continues to ripen after harvest, and the longer the orange ripens, the sweeter the juice tastes.
Medium to large, this orange has a thin easy-to-peel smooth deep orange coloured rind. Valencia oranges have anywhere from one to six seeds per fruit.
The Valencia orange is an amazing source of fibre, vitamin C, and folate. It also provides carbohydrates, calcium, iron, vitamin A and potassium.