Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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The oranges groves on my back doorstep

Until we viewed our property on the La Finca Urbanisation, I’d never even heard of Algorfa. However, as soon as we walked through our garden apartment onto the terrace, and saw the Sierra de Callosa mountains and the orange groves winding their way down to the village two miles away, I knew that Tony and I had found our dream home in a perfect location. 

In April and May, the smell of the orange blossom as you stroll down the back road to the village is overpowering. And once the bees arrive for pollination purposes, you wouldn’t believe the noise they make. Locally, it’s known as the Algorfa Roar, and if you happen to be around at the time, you’ll understand why. The hum of the bees builds into a crescendo of sound that can be heard for miles around.

And of course, there are the birds singing and flitting from tree to tree, and the rabbits running through the avenues and finding the safety of the warren if any dogs are around. In spring, if you keep your eyes peeled as you walk past the groves, you may even see a couple of hares, up on their hind legs boxing.

Come October, the oranges start to change from green to – well, orange. However, they are still hard to the touch, but by the end of November they are ready to be picked and eaten, although it will be at least another month or so before the commercial harvest begins. And the fruits will keep coming right through until the end of March or later.

Perceived wisdom is that, if the groves are fenced off, you’re trespassing if you go in there, but if there is open access from the road, you can go in and walk your dog, and even pick a few oranges straight from the tree, as long as you’re not too greedy. I tend to check the ground for recent windfalls, so as not to interfere too much with the crop, although this year (2022) there’s been no commercial picking in the unfenced groves near me. More than likely the price the growers get for them means it’s not worth harvesting and shipping them.

I wondered why the growers don’t offer a ‘Pick Your Own’ service, and a few Spanish friends have told me it’s not something they are comfortable with. I did notice one or two growers were advertising this service this year though, so maybe it will catch on. Apparently, there’s a perception that picking your own stuff and still paying for it is ‘working’ for it!

I used to love to take my dog Paddy into the groves in the early evening, let him off the lead and watch him bound with unconfined joy along the avenues, sometimes chasing rabbits, but more often than not just enjoying being alive in that perfect space. The rabbits and hares got wise to him, and would often come around behind him and wait for him to notice them. It was hilarious – just like a cartoon. I miss those days now Paddy is no longer here, but maybe some time in the not too distant future Luna will be well trained enough to let her run in the orange groves. I can but hope!