Once Palermo was the core of the Conca d’Oro. The plan surrounding the city was, until the middle XX century a single, vast garden that welcomed visitors that concluded the Grand Tour in its citrus groves; this mythical place, narrated by poets and writers, extended from Villabate and Sferracavallo.
In the period of maximum extension it covered 15 thousands hectars, intensively cultivated. The gardens extended to 250 meters above sea level, surrounded by stone walls. A complex system of canals, pools and hollows, with animal than later mechanical traction, guaranteed regular supply of water. Today little is left of the Conca d’Oro: in the last fifty years the cultivated land has shrunk by 80%, the city spread and continues to grow, with strong risk of hydrologic distruption: garden terracing acted as bulwarks against the mountain that with every rain falls to the plain. The climatic balance of the city too, is at stake: the citrus groves are an important green lung in ensuring the correct degree of soil humidity and a constant enrichment of the groundwater. A part is still intact however: Ciaculli and Croceverde Giardina hamlet are quite entirely cultivated with tangerine. In the 1940s, a new variety was born, due to a spontaneous mutation of the mandarin orange. It ripened lately, from January to March. This tangerine with scarce seeds, highly sweet and with thin peel spread rapidly among the local farmers. Today the Late Tangerine is the most prestigious product for the Consortium that brings together 65 small producers – they own approximately 80 hectars – all performing substantially organic farming. The Late Tangerine is infact a resistant variety and does not need particular treatments.
The Late Tangerine from Ciaculli, as all the citruses, is rich in vitamin c, known for ts antioxidant properties and power in strenghtening the immune system, but it is also rich in vitamin b1 and b2, responsible for appetite stimulation, growth, digestion, improvement of the respiratory system and are suited for the nervous system treatments. Beta-carotene, Fibre and vitamin pp are also present.
The ripening period of the Late Tangerine goes from January to March, the product processed in marmelades is available year round.