Most of the oranges that we can buy, whether in large stores or in small greengrocers, have been distributed through the traditional marketing channel.
As it begins
The figure of the “buyer” (a food trader) buys the oranges from the farmer through a contract that is normally quite peculiar, in which there is no commitment, neither price nor collection by the buyer, but in which the farmer if he agrees not to sell the production to anyone else. The buyer is usually a warehouse employee who will later process the oranges and sell them to the market or large supermarkets. It is difficult to understand that even after the orange has been picked, the farmer does not know at what price they are going to pay for their oranges.
The buyer visits the field to check the state of ripeness of the oranges, and if everything is correct, he sends a group of collectors (“cuadrilla”) to harvest the entire field. They are harvested in boxes and loaded onto a truck to take them to the warehouse. These oranges are harvested at a very early stage of ripeness, when they are still green, to ensure that they cannot spoil during the entire subsequent process.
Once in the warehouse, the orange goes through some degreening chambers, so that they turn orange, since it is a fruit that does not ripen after harvesting, so with this process they manage to change the exterior color, making them more appetizing. Once degreened, they are dumped into a work line of large machines where those that may be bad are discarded, organized by size, washed, dried, waxed and packed. After all this process, the orange can still travel between warehouses to different parts of Spain, as the warehouses also sell fruit to each other according to their demand. Once ready with the packaging and labeling of the warehouse that will finally sell them, they set off on a trip to their destination in refrigerated trucks.
These oranges tend to have a lower amount of vitamins, less juice and a duller taste, since they are picked green and many days pass from when they are picked from the tree until you eat them. The quality of the orange is an aspect to take into account, but even more so are the water and energy resources that the entire process requires. Basically they are necessary for 3 reasons. The need for efficiency in harvesting, the false need to have a beautiful orange on the table, and the long time that passes from the time it is harvested until it arrives at your home. These requirements are even higher if the origin of the oranges is from countries outside the EU, such as South Africa, since in addition to the long journey, as a measure to prevent pest transmission, the oranges need to be stored during the journey. , in cold rooms at a very low temperature, around 0 degrees.
Today there are alternatives to traditional commerce, in which farmers can send the oranges directly to the final consumer, and what is more important, without having to use so many energy resources.
As it begins
Our model is somewhat simpler. At Llaurat we are farmers who grow orange trees in a traditional and ecological way, so that when the time comes we can send you your harvest. It is something very gratifying to cultivate throughout the year knowing that this crop is not going to be wasted and it will be for a farmer and his family.
During the harvest season, when we receive your orders, we go to the field and select only the oranges that are necessary and with the best state of ripeness, leaving the others ripening on the tree. Throughout the season we can pass several times by the same tree. Obviously it is a less efficient process, but we make sure that we are always going to harvest oranges in the best state of ripeness and that they do not need any post-harvest treatment.
The oranges are collected in crates and placed in their final cardboard packaging, sealed and labeled for shipment. All the material we use for packaging is recycled or recyclable, and reusable. Once we have all the orders ready, they are sent in vans or trucks, always full, using the most efficient route. The oranges travel at room temperature since, since they do not receive cold or post-harvest treatments, it is not necessary to maintain a low temperature. Depending on the country where you live, it will normally take between 24h and 3 days from the time the orange is harvested until it arrives at your home.
Although our model is far from being 100% ecological, it is a truly ecological alternative to the traditional orange marketing model. In addition, our commitment is to continue working every day to improve our carbon footprint, both in the cultivation process and in the final shipment. And of course take advantage of the privilege of being able to reach so many people, to continue disseminating and supporting social projects and organic farming.
Oh, and remember that you can also harvest your km0 oranges yourself in the field!