What does it take to produce great oranges?
When customers come out here to visit us on our farm and after talking about some of the field work we do throughout the year inevitably the question arises what we do to obtain such tasty oranges. Good question! In our opinion three factors are essential.
If you are in a hurry or if you lack the desire to read this rather lengthy text, fast-forward directly to the third point. It is quite surprising, you will see! For those who want to bear with us, let's take it point by point:
The first factor is called terroir in French. The terroir covers all of the factors which depend on the location and therefore are considered as being givens, like the amout of sunshine, the soil, the climate and the groundwater used for irrigation. Montesa is located in the Cañoles valley, a fertile valley which receives more than enough sunlight, which is protected from frost and where citrus has been grown successfully for centuries. In addition to its suitable soils, its groundwater has a high content of mineral salts, which gives the fruit high levels of fruit sugar.
Secondly we have the agronomic factor, i.e. the choice of varieties and the farming method. We still believe in the old varieties. Although they are a little less productive than the new ones, they are still superior in terms of flavor. In organic farming, less fertilizer is applied and phytosanitary treatments are hardly used. The spontaneous vegetation - commonly called weeds - competes with the orange trees which results in the fruit staying slightly smaller and the harvest volumes tend to be lower. In contrast the intensity of the fruit's flavor is greater. We also try to limit irrigation to the minimum. Although this also limits the quantity produced, it helps us to increase internal qualities. In short we can say that "less is definitely more".
Finally we are convinced that brands also play an important role. Obviously a brand has no direct influence on the taste of an orange, however it can steer the subjective perception of taste. Throughout several conversations with customers we have heard that many of them say that our oranges are the best available fruit on the market. At the same time they admit that they no longer eat any other oranges. Thus it is impossible for them to make an objective comparison! Of course, a brand alone, without a product of excellent quality, would not be able to boost sales persistently. But between two objectively equal products as far as flavor is concerned, a strong brand, in which the consumers believe, can absolutely make the decisive difference at the time of purchase.