The story of Italy and its citrus fruit

Hyman_web_L_659625hClarissa Hyman at the Times Literary Supplement:

A paradox pervades the Sicilian citrus groves and gardens. The scent is intoxicating but too often the fruit lies rotten on the ground, unwanted and worthless. In this maddening, singular island, where they say the sun drives you crazy and the moon makes you sad, the irony is your breakfast orange juice will most likely be diluted, long-life concentrate from oranges grown in Brazil.

Helena Attlee acknowledges the complexities of international trade in The Land Where Lemons Grow: The story of Italy and its citrus fruit, her fascinating grand tour of the citrus-growing regions of Italy. Her focus is less on global agro-economics than on the history of the fruit in its adopted home, and the migration of waves of citrons, sour oranges, lemons, sweet oranges and mandarins to the welcoming soil of Mediterranean Europe.

A distinguished garden writer, Attlee fell under the spell of citrus over ten years ago and the book, like the eleventh labour of Hercules to steal the golden fruit of the Hesperides, is the result. She writes with great lucidity, charm and gentle humour, and wears her considerable learning lightly.

more here.