The President of Malta George Vella and Mrs Miriam Vella launched the fourteenth edition of Festa Ċitru (Citrus Feast) during an activity with the EkoSkola students of De La Salle College at the citrus gardens of Sant’Anton Palace.
Festa Ċitru will be held this Sunday, 15th January, at The President’s Kitchen Garden in Attard from 10am onwards. As is the tradition, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits harvested from the Palace gardens will be sold during the event. Meanwhile, a number of cakes and other confectionery made from oranges are currently being baked in the Kitchen of Sant’Anton Palace to be sold during this event, the proceeds of which will all go to The Malta Community Chest Fund.
The Palace’s gardener, Karmenu Muscat, said that in the Sant’Anton Palace gardens there are around 600 citrus trees, most of which are orange trees. He explained the work involved to grow oranges until harvest time – now being the best time of the year. “After this event, we collect the irrigation pipes and start spreading organic fertilisers and plough the soil. We then get to March, flowering season, and we stop so that bees can pollinate freely. After that, irrigation pipes are spread, and we monitor for some diseases and spray against diseases. We always prefer organic sprays to cause minimal damage, and pruning starts from May onwards.”
In a few words to the students who enthusiastically helped harvest oranges, President George Vella encouraged them to eat citrus fruits because they are nutritious and an important source of Vitamin C. President Vella appealed to the public to attend Festa Ċitru “because they will enjoy themselves and contribute to The Malta Community Chest Fund.” The President said that The Malta Community Chest Fund receives requests throughout the whole year and therefore events scattered throughout the year, such as Festa Ċitru, are essential.