The Jewish Citron Harvest in Calabria
For centuries Jewish citron merchants have come to this remote corner of Italy to seek out the most flawless citrons imaginable. These perfect fruits are required as an essential part of the annual Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and are sent all over the world. I was accompanying the author Helena Attlee, who was researching her forthcoming major book on the role of the citrus genus in Italian culture and history. The citron trees are covered in vicious spines and grow low to the ground. They can only be harvested by hand, by pickers crawling beneath the branches in the 40-degree heat of a Calabrian summer.