Habata Agri have harvested their first crop of mandarins of the nadorcott and tango varieties as they continue their programme of production for the export market.
The nadorcotts and tangos are two of four varieties of mandarins produced by the Sundays River Valley farming company. The others are novas and valley golds, which they have been cultivating since 1990.
The harvest will be sent overseas primarily for eating purposes.
A chief characteristic of mandarins, said Habata operations manager Gary Webb, was that they were sold on appearance and thus it was vital that the colour and external “look” were good.
“The fruit is picked strictly on colour,” said Webb. “Each tree is picked at least three times to ensure the best colour is selected.
“The fruit is then sent to the packhouse where it is boxed and sent to different markets around the globe.”
He said the nadorcotts were sent to Europe and the Middle and Far East through a number of distributors, but “mainly Unifrutti and Grown4U“.
Picked by hand, Webb said they needed to be packed within 24 hours of harvest.
“They are then exported as soon as possible via sea freight in a cool container, with the journey lasting anything from 21 to 28 days.”
Webb said he was happy with the yield of nadorcotts and tangos in the inaugural season.
“The mandarin season is extended by planting different varieties that come into production at various times,” he explained.
“We start with the novas and end with the nadorcotts and tangos.”
He said the nadorcotts and tangos had to be handled with extreme care during harvesting.