Jardín del Gordo is an orange and clementine plantation situated at the foot of the mountain known as “El Cerro Gordo”, in Valencia. It is located remotely from urban centers, the closest village being Villar del Arzobispo at a distance of around 10 km.
The mountain is a centerpiece of this finca and explains partly the taste of its oranges and clementines. Its Mediterranean vegetation is a source of insects that help to keep harmful pests at bay. On the other hand the mountain helps redirect icy winds in winter nights away to prevent the oranges from freezing, while allowing a good balance between day- and night time temperatures. The difference in temperatures helps the fruit to develop a rich flavour.
Since our beginnings over 20 years ago, we opted for the most efficient irrigation system that exists as of today: micro-irrigation. Through the years, we improved this system by adding automatic filters that allow for a better pressure in order for the trees to each receive a proportional quantity of water and for this water to be as clean as possible. This has been the key of success for the trees to develop in perfect conditions. The only downside of this system is that we need to regularly check the pipes to avoid any leaks since surrounding animals sometimes chew them to drink water. We source our water by pressure, and this requires a lot of energy. The irrigation computing system is powered by batteries and solar panels.
We use organic methods to control pests. For example, we control red scale by using a pheromone confusion system. These are traps that emit a high amount of pheromones which prevent the male and the female to find each other and reproduce. For other types of insects, we use Neem oil, an organic product that affects plagues such as aphids and whiteflies, but that doesn’t harm hard-bodied useful insects such as bees and ladybugs.
Before joining CrowdFarming, we were a team of 4 people who had been there since the beginning of the plantation. Thanks to CrowdFarming, we added to this team 2 women in the office managing the billing and administration, 2 permanent workers in the fields, 6 to 8 temporary workers for the orange harvest and finally, one truck driver who transports the fruits from the orchard to the logistics center where the orders are prepared straight after the fruit picking. The salary of the workers is always in accordance with the corresponding agreement and contract.
We only discard the fruits that are damaged, the oranges that have a very thick and coarse skin due to late flowering, or the extremely small ones. We try to sort them as thoroughly as we can but even like this it is difficult to ensure a perfect selection.
Depending on the season, different varieties of citrus fruits are harvested on the plantation of Jardín del Gordo, according to their optimal level of ripeness. The fruit ripening depends on each years’ climatic conditions, so the following dates are only indicative. From the end of November until the end of December, clementines are harvested for the clementine tree adopters.
For the orange tree adopters:
During the month of December and part of January, the Navelina orange is harvested. During January and part of February, we pick the Navel de Foyos. We follow with the Lane Late orange, harvested until the beginning of April. We have a small production of late oranges, the Navel Powel, which is picked during the first week of April.