The Valencia Late is probably the most widely grown orange in the world. It is a late season orange, small to medium in size, with a smooth and relatively thin skin which peels reasonably easily. The flavour is good, with high levels of sweetness in mature fruit, though earlier picked fruit can be slightly acidic. The fruit has excellent juicing qualities and is often sold at prices that allow the option of home juicing. Valencia Lates have excellent keeping qualities and store very well, so are available for extended periods when other varieties, such as Navels, have finished.
Origin: Of Portuguese origin, first noticed in the Azores. In 1860, it was sent from the Azores to a nurseryman, Thomas Rivers, in Sawbridgeworth, England who named the variety Excelsior. From England it was sent to Long Island, California and Florida, where it was renamed Rivers Late, but was later christened Valencia Late by a Spanish citrus expert who saw it while visiting Florida in 1887.
Grown in: Valencia Lates are grown in virtually all main citrus growing areas, but also in tropical climates and warmer sub-tropics were Navels are unsuitable.
Harvest & Availability: Valencia Lates for UK and Europe come mainly from Spain, Cyprus, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay:
March to August: Spain, Morocco, Cyprus, Egypt
August to November: South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay