In the 2020/21 orange season, we were able to ignore the EU standards for oranges for the first time and brought fruit to Switzerland in all the shapes, sizes and colours that nature has to offer. gebana customers were thrilled and farming families were able to export over 90 percent of their harvest. This year we want to reach 95 percent.
There’s an EU regulation that determines what citrus fruit need to look like to be sold to end consumers: orange, intact, free from bruises or deep scars, no size differences in a single crate and at least 53 millimetres in diameter. Smaller or more unique oranges are only allowed to be made into juice, but may not be exported as whole fruits for consumption.
Who does this regulation help? The major supermarkets that want to sell oranges as if they were mass-produced paperclips – all identical. The regulation also helps them keep smaller competitors at bay. Those who lose out are customers, farming families and the environment.
In 2019 we madethe decision to do something about this nonsense and we requested an exemption from the EU. We were advised to simply label the oranges as Products intended for processing. The export rules would then no longer apply. You can find the whole story here.
This label allowed us to distribute #RealOranges to Switzerland for the first time in the 2020/21 season. Some were still green, others scarred, and others still were small like clementines or big like grapefruits. Hundreds of consumers, full of enthusiasm, sent in photos of their fruit crates or posted them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Meanwhile, the farming families in Greece were able to export an impressive 91.5 percent of their harvest as table oranges. Although the 2018/19 season was similar in terms of quality and harvest quantity per field, the farming families were only able to sell 81 percent of their harvest to gebana for export.
In other words, we have halved the relative crop loss – and the farming families earned significantly more than they did in the years previously. Based on this success, we now want to increase the harvest yield to 95 percent in the 2021/22 season. But nature will always have the last word here.
You can pre-order the #RealOranges in our online shop.