I have wanted to visit the Ave Maria Farm for a long time. I have heard so many amazing things about their oranges. A quick google search will turn up endless recipes for marmalades, cakes and sweets using the special bitter oranges from Ave Maria Farm.

The farm is in Mairena del Alcor, a small town about 35 minutes from the center of Seville by car, 10 minutes from the beautiful city of Carmona.

From the year 1613 orange trees were found in Mairena, although the first planting in the Ave Maria Farm is memorialized on one of the grove gates with the year 1867, an era that began the massive exportation of Seville oranges to England.

When we turn off the main highway towards the farm, there are 10 minutes ahead of us, winding between fields, hills and orange trees, almost completely freed of their heavy and juicy fruit at this time of year.

Ave Maria Farm

Many people think that oranges are harvested in the summer, I used to think so too… in fact it is the opposite, what a surprise!

Arriving at the farm, our eyes take in the outbuildings and the family home of the farm owners, bathed in the sea of orange trees. Currently, the farm is managed by three very hardworking women

On this day we could see how the farm works, how the oranges are carefully picked and selected to be of the highest quality for the long trip to buyers in  Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and many far off places where the famous Seville Marmalade is produced and repeatedly awarded at world exhibitions and fairs. It reigns supreme on the tables of over 400,000 houses.

Bitter oranges are perfect for making marmalade because they have a higher pectin content than sweet oranges. They are a good source for vitamin C, dietary fiber, and thiamin. The citrus fruit also contains potassium, vitamin A and calcium, and are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

This article originally appeared on Meeintg Point Sevilla, A Unique Spanish Experience… In a box. To read the full text view the original article.