Soller and its hidden valley celebrate all things orange in June with the Fiesta of the Orange. From the 2nd to 17th June, both Soller & Port de Soller go back to their roots and give the orange the place in its calender that it deserves. Soller has a micro climate and water supplies that produce the best oranges.
Since the Moors organised the collection of every drop of rain that falls on the mountains this valley has been the most fertile. At the turn of the century the prosperity of Soller depended on the orange and the silk worm. The money that funded Soller’s expansion and enabled it to run its own train came from these sources. The silk worms have long since gone, together with the textile industry that they created, but the orange remains. The humble orange often falls to the floor and remains uncollected because it is no longer financially viable to collect, package and sell. Sadly, Soller oranges are no longer exported all over the world as they once were.
There is hope in 2012 that the farmers of Soller dedicated to the farming of citrus crops will find new markets for their produce. As part of the Orange Festival there is a competition to find the farmer that is doing most to promote the orange. The local papers have a voting form which lists the three that have made the short-list. My favourite has to be Pep Pomegranate – just for the name alone!
Apart from the farmers there is also the local Fet a Soller. This is an organisation making innovative use of the orange in oils, jams, liqueurs and much more. If there is a use for the orange they will find it and promote it. The local agricultural co-op situated on the way to Biniaraix is also a promoter of the interesting uses the orange can be put to and is well worth a visit.
‘Fira I Jornades de la Taronja’ is the name you will see promoting this special time of year and it all starts on Saturday 2nd June 2012 and runs until 17th. There will be orange themed statues and models in the main square and orange tastings in the market. The local restaurants are launching their two weeks of special orange menus. There are over twenty participating restaurants and hotels who are part of this promotion. The orange menus are available at 20€ and 25€ and can be linked to reduced prices on the train and tram. If you take a day return trip from Palma on the train , use the tram and then have lunch in a participating restaurant the price is 35€. This is very good value for money and I can guarantee that the food will be excellent -especially if you like the taste of orange.
The Port of Soller is seriously open for business now that all its work is complete. The wide walkways at the seafront and the new beaches have made it all worth the work and disruption of the past few years. The fiesta of the orange will bring new visitors to our town and port and I am sure they will love what they see. The sunbeds are sitting under newly installed palm tree umbrellas on the sand and the effect is Caribbean. The lone saxophone player entertaining the diners on the Repic beach this week continued the theme and the weather joined in. Beautiful sunny days and the clear light of June in the Mediterranean. The Fiesta of the Orange starts the summer season in Soller and its Port and we all hope you have a one to remember in 2012.
by Shirley Roberts | Mallorca & Soller Correspondent | published: 1st Jun, 2012