Mr Ricciardolo's orchard sits approximately 16km south of Francofonte, in the rolling countryside of the small village of Pedagaggi, where optimal volcanic soil provides ideal growing conditions for less than 1 hectare of Tarocco oranges. WIth an average yield of around 5/6 tons, the orchard is 50 years old and the trees are planted in tight rows, so machinery can’t pass and all the work must be done manually.
Mr Ricciardolo has several small orchards across the two villages, where his Tarocco oranges hang heavy from December to March. As an elderly man in his 80s, he does not work on the field as a frontman but he oversees groups of local workers who take care of the orchards.
While Mr Ricciardolo's standard choise is to sell to wholesalers, maybe because of his age and often out of fear of not being able to sell the entire harvest, he decided to sell us his late-season yields of Tarocco oranges.
While the orchard is not certified organic, he doesn't use harmful chemicals in production, and doesn't coat his citrus fruits with wax, resin, fungicides or any other chemicals for packing or travel.
Photo Credits: Imma Di Marco