The area that Etna Lemon growing occupies on the volcano is 2.500 hectares big, the annual harvest being of 120.000 tons a year.
Latitude, geography, composition of lava soil, neareness to the Ionio see on the east side of the mount Etna are all elements that strongly affect the environment that is extremely favourable to the distinctive organic features of the Etna lemon.
The Etna lemon fruits are distinguished in the varieties Cultivar Femminiello Zagara Bianca and Cultivar Monachello, than on the bases of harvest period. In contrast with other citruses, lemon tree is remontant and gives fruits more than once an year.
- Primofiore (Winter fruit): the fruits are picked from September 15th to April 15th.
- Bianchetto (Spting lemon): the fruits are picked from April 1st and May 30th.
- Verdello (Summer lemon)*: the fruits are picked from May 16th to September 30th.
- Primofiore (Winter fruit): the fruist are picked from October 15th to April 15th.
- Bianchetto (Spring lemon): the fruits are picked from April 1st to May 30th.
- Verdello (Summer lemon): the fruits are picked from May 16th to September 30th.
The most profitable types for producers is the Verdello lemon.
* This type is a peculiarity of the Etna lemon. It is produced with the agricultural technique of Forcing, namely the induction of the plant to bloom again and give fruit out of season. The method implies to stop watering plants in Summer to provoke an idric stress. When the foliage shows a diffuse wilting, commonly scheduled from July 10th to 31th , the plants are newly hydrated: watering and fertilizing help plants to overcome stress and consequently to blossom copiously. The fruits given are called Verdelli (literaly: greenish), they would ripe till the following Summer and arrive on the commercial market in a period of latency of the national lemon production. (Author: Roberta Bonsignore).