Sicilian lemon industry

Published in Sicily Food

Although we rate the lemons of the Amalfi coast as the biggest and most lemony of them all, nine out of ten lemons produced in Italy actually come from Sicily. Indeed, in the Province of Messina the production of lemons even exceeds that of the more famous oranges.

The climate means a long growing season and the gathering of lemons takes place over three distinct periods.

First is the autumn harvest or 'primo fiore', followed by the cultivation of the 'bianchetti' in Spring and the 'verdelli' between June and July.

The most common variety of lemon is the 'femminello' which also has its own strains, some with seeds some without.

Of the other types, lemon enthusiasts might like to take a closer look at the 'monachello', the 'interdonato' and the 'femminello S.Teresa'.

But to think this is all due to the colossal earthquake of the 28th December 1908 which hit Messina

The aftermath of the quake saw the government of the day pass a series of motions in favour of relaunching the agriculture of the province.

At a stroke, the Ligurian lemon orchards were out of business and have effectively been so ever since.

It was all due to Angelo Majorana Calatabiana, a rich land owner in Sicily and brother of the agricultural minister.

The Sicilian farmers were able to work with huge subsidies and priced many producers out of business. Liguria being a notable victim.

As he was also the 'Ministro del Tesoro', or 'Treasury Minister' the family well and truly stitched Liguria up.

see also Amalfi coast lemons

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