The Orange Man

Winter has arrived.  How do I know?  Although the nights are cold, the afternoons are still for going walking or tidying up the garden wearing a tee-shirt, beneath a duck-egg blue sky. So until the other day, I thought we were clinging on to autumn.

But on Thursday, the Orange Man arrived.  This is exciting enough news for it to be worth phoning a friend.  Every year, once winter kicks in and the orange harvest is well under way in southern Spain, a huge container lorry arrives in Lavelanet. It parks up at a disused petrol station on the main road into town and becomes an impromptu shop.

The man with the lorry, the Orange Man,  speaks only Spanish, and sells only oranges.  Not singly or by the half-dozen, but in large 10 kilo boxes.  10 kilos, 10 euros.  What a bargain.  These oranges, though sometimes a little knobbly and in irregular sizes, are the juiciest and tastiest you’ll ever eat, and it’s no wonder that whenever you pass, you’ll see someone pulling up their car and opening the boot for a case or two.  Our Spanish friend won’t have to stay long.  In a few days the entire container-load will be sold, he’ll return to Spain …. only to return when he’s loaded up again.

When he departs for the last time at the end of the season, we’ll know for sure that spring has arrived.

PS.  Very topically, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall takes oranges as his subject in today’s cookery column in the Guardian

9 thoughts on “The Orange Man”

  1. Lucky you to have the Orange Man. He doesn’t regale us over here with his presence. We’ve just been staying in the middle of citrus groves and I can tell you it’s just torture to see so much fruit just falling off the trees and being left … it’s clementine season in Catalunya – oranges not quite ready yet – and they’re just sooooo good, especially that amazing smell as you peel them and the oils explode everywhere. We ate tonnes, and have brought back a huge bag grown almost within sight of our accommodation.

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    1. Oooh, yes, it would have tortured me too. But are you SURE you haven’t got an Orange Man? You need to find a thoroughfare with parking outside a former industrial or commercial space and see if such a treasure is lurking there. I simply don’t believe our Man is unique.

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    1. Seville oranges? Almost unobtainable here. The French don’t use them. A French friend gave me a marmalade recipe which began ‘ Peel oranges(normal ones) and boil peel 3 times to get rid of bitterness before proceeding.’ 😦

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  2. Reblogged this on From Pyrenees to Pennines and commented:

    It’s funny what we find we miss, now we’re back in the UK after those years in France. This last week or two, we’ve been missing The Orange Man, source of freshly squeezed juice for our breakfast, and a host of orange-related recipes (Not marmalade though. Seville oranges never applied for a place in his pantechnicon). Now we’re stuck, just as we were for much of the year back in France, with bottles or cartons of juice to help us wake up and face the day. We miss staggering home with those 10 kilo boxes of fruit. We miss struggling to communicate with the salesman in our almost non-existent Spanish: it was a whole sight better than his French, all the same. But most of all, we miss the wake-up zing of that fresh juice which launched us into a new day with such zest. Here’s how I introduced the orange man to you all, two years ago.

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