Growers & makers

Gospa Citrus

Gospa Citrus is run by Amadora Gahona and her children in Mairena del Alcor, near Seville – a region famed for its outstanding citrus fruits. There have been orange groves on their 60-hectare farm since 1867, and they were the very first orange farm in Andalucia to be awarded organic status.

Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson visited in 2011, and was hugely impressed – not only by their outstanding fruit, but also by the wildlife and flourishing nature on the farm. Not to mention the energy and citrus-obsession of Amadora and her family! We’ve stocked their fruit ever since.

“Our farm is in the province of Seville (southern Spain), and specifically, we are in Mairena del Alcor, which in ancient Arabic means ‘abundant water between rolling hills’. Romans and Arabs passed through here, and also the British,” says Amadora.

“I have been involved in growing Seville oranges since I was a child. At my parents’ house, January was filled with expectation. Even the word ‘Seville’ (said in English) rang in my mind because that’s what they called our bitter oranges that went to the UK.”

“The seasonal workers would go to the fields early to pick the fruit. That same afternoon, they were cleaned, graded and packed for their final destination. Today I am still living the same process, alongside my sons and daughters, while technology and organic farming have done the rest. We carefully grow according to standards of organic production, respecting the environment now and for the future.” There is a reason that the region around Seville is renowned for its bitter oranges; growing conditions are perfect.

“Our soil and water are also rich in minerals such as phosphorus and iron, so our Sevilles have a special bittersweet taste, which makes extraordinary marmalade. Seville oranges are also bitter thanks to an organic compound called neohesperidin. Because of this, it is best to make marmalade or cook with them. Trust me, your house will smell amazing.”

As well as gnarly-skinned, deeply flavoursome oranges, Amadora and her family grow finger limes for us – a real, unusual delicacy, full of little pearls of juicy flavour, sometimes called ‘lime caviar’.

“It is a lime variety, so between lemon and lime taste,” says José, Amadora’s son. “The advantage is that you can extract their vesicles and use them for many dishes. So many uses – I have added it to different types of meat, salads and to many sauces, including mayonnaise, in which it explodes in your mouth when you eat it!”

More in Growers & makers

View all Growers & makers