THE MODICA FAMILY
Today Scorzamara is the digital market where all lovers of organic citrus fruits buy Sicilian oranges and mandarins.
However, not everyone knows that the history of Scorzamara is also the story of a family, of a place and of a dream that has lived on for centuries.
The Porrazito estate, belonging to the aristocratic family of Modica, covered 132 hectares, half of which was cultivated with olive tree groves, 50 hectares were destined to vineyards and 1 to the citrus grove.
The manor house, built by Teresa Modica in the early 16th century, for many centuries was the whole neighboroughood’s landmark: the oil mill within the estate was used by the family and the neighboring olive farms, the Friesian cows’ livestock provided milk for all the inhabitants of Carlentini, the school made from the courtyard allowed post-war children to receive adequate education.
In 1958, heir Cav. Angelo Modica grubbed up the vineyard to allocate the land for the sowing of wheat, but the activity lasted only a decade. Starting from 1968, the land was turned to a citrus grove: Oval and Late Valencia orange plants began to give off throughout the estate the sweet and typical scent of Sicilian citrus fruits that can still be breathed today, while stables were being populated with saddle horses and cart horses.
In 2012 Angelo Modica decided to entirely devote himself to his horses and carriages, handing over the reins to his grandson Carlo, a young doctor and entrepreneur. Carlo’s active commitment in the farming field, in 2017, led him to become provincial delegate of young Coldiretti farmers’ union of Catania.
Now as then, Scorzamara means the strength of a family, a challenge and a gamble on Sicily and its good fruits, both organic and PGI-Quality Sicilian Oranges, just like our oranges and mandarins.
THE PLOTS OF LAND
A creature of Etna, Scorzamara now devotes 35 hectares of land to the cultivation of citrus fruits, especially the blood orange of Sicily. This is because we comply with the environmental features of our territory and value a typical product of our tradition, employing state-of-the-art and less invasive farming techniques. Moreover, while the temperature changes of the Etna area give the oranges a naturally intense red pigmentation (anthocyanins), we prepare the soil so that it is ready to receive the fecund water, the friendly sun and the tender shoots. The ridge cultivation technique – literally, a trunk system – consists in moving the soil from the furrows to elevated areas, to favour soil drainage and bigger, healthier production.
Each seedling is fertilized with slow-release organic nitrogen to improve fruit quality and increase vitamin C production.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE
The maturation of our organic oranges respects the plants’ natural life cycle. The slow and gentle growth, never affected by chemical fertilizers that accelerate production processes, makes the fruits tasty and fragrant, from skin to pulp. Ripened to the right point, our organic oranges are harvested by hand, one by one, brushed to remove traces of soil and leaves and prepared to be quickly shipped, avoiding lengthy refrigerator storing, waxing and fungicide treatments.
The care of our citrus grove is entrusted to the skilled hands of four collaborators who work daily on a seasonal contract basis, in compliance with the farm workers’ and nursery gardeners’ national collective labour agreement.