Meet The Producer - Laudani Citrus
Written by: Stefano Cuomo
When our new season oranges arrive…gosh…they make me smile!
It is as though the Mediterranean farmers have wrapped up a little of their winter sunshine, sending it up to the cold north to help brighten the fog of January blues!
This year it is even more exciting than usual…Sevilles are already rolling in from Spain and our friends, the Laudani family, have picked and sent us the first of their January crop of delicious Tarocco Blood Oranges, as well as their beautiful leafy Lemons, all from their farm at the base of Mount Etna in Sicily.
This is seasonal citrus at its very best, drawing all the goodness from the winter sun and producing a juicy, fragrant and delicious fruit.
I was introduced to Carmelo (the latest generation of the Laudani Family to take on the plantations) through the ‘Soda Jerks’ (their own moniker!!), Robyn and Ed of Square Root Soda. Square Root produce the most delicious high fruit / low sugar lemonade, orangeade and other fizzes in East London - a story for another day - and after I told them I was hunting for the best citrus fruit around, they told me where they got their fruit from.
Carmelo had met Ed in an online citrus forum (yes, they do exist!), where the Square Root team had been hunting for pure, high quality fruit.
The Laudani citrus groves are farmed as near to organic as possible. Pest control is managed through active, beneficial insects and not pesticides and spray is not used in the orchards, so you see a thick growth of vegetation between the fruit trees, supporting biomass even further. An even bigger bonus: the fruit is not waxed in the way most commercial fruit is…everything Carmelo and his family are doing is to support the land and work with it…never against it.
Having visited us in December, Carmelo understood our aims and desire to achieve a tight supply chain, working closely with local growers to get the very best produce to our community. He quickly recognised Macknade aligned closely with the Laudani ethos.
Daniel, our Fruit & Veg Buyer now calls Carmelo as we need fruit and he will pick it from the trees that day and send it straight to us in Faversham. A direct link from the tree to our shelves and keeping the fruit as fresh as possible.
As Macknade, it is our role to influence our food and drink ecosystem for the better. Working with Carmelo and his family, we can create the shortest possible supply chain and continue our support of farmers & growers using the lowest impact agricultural systems around…always producing the most delicious fruit and vegetables!
We have Carmelo’s Blood Oranges and Lemons now in and we hope to add mandarins, grapefruit and later season oranges as the year goes on, alongside an array of other wonderful Sicilian produce that Laudani’s neighbours produce across the island.