Spain is world-renowned for its beautifully sweet and juicy oranges. Introduced by the Moors more than a thousand years ago, Valencia Oranges have become synonymous with Spain, currently leading the world in terms of export, the majority of which are cultivated primarily in the Valencia region.
Aptly named “The Orchard of Spain,” Valencia produces the most oranges in Spain, which are famous for their perfect form and juiciness. Thin-skinned with a few seeds, Valencia oranges produce more juice than other oranges and are the perfect orange for freshly squeezed juice. Sometimes the oranges might have a green tinge to them, which is caused by chlorophyll to help protect the oranges from sunburn, however, they are still ripe, sweet, and ready to eat!
Most of the orange groves in the region can be found along the coastline, where the mild weather is conducive for optimal growth. As you drive along the Northern Costa Blanca down the AP-7 from Valencia towards Gandia, rows upon rows of beautiful dark green groves of orange trees stretch as far as the eye can see, filling the air with the heavy scent of orange blossom, and promising breath-taking views. The best time to see the trees in full orange blossom bloom is in April, when little white flowers appear on the dark leafy trees laden with bright orange fruit – simply spectacular!
Primarily grown for orange juice production and export, Valencia oranges are prized the world over for being the ‘perfect orange’ due to their perfectly round shape, size, and sweetness. Valencia oranges are late season fruits, often called ‘summer oranges’, with trees bearing their fruit between October and April, which are then harvested and available for consumption.
According to figures from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Spain is the world’s leading exporter of oranges, with approximately 1.5 million tons of orange exports a year and annual export values of nearly one billion euros. Figures for the 2014 harvest show that the overall orange production was 3.4 million tonnes, the majority of which came from the Valencia region.