The ortanique looks much like an orange and could easily be mistaken for one. The difference is in its shape — it’s typically a bit flat on top and bottom.
This native of Jamaica, a hybrid of the orange and tangerine, gets its name from orange (or), tangerine (tan) and unique (ique). A deliciously sweet fruit, with a hint of tang, the ortanique is a favorite with Jamaicans.
But there’s a bit of confusion about its origin – at least in some circles. Several sites list Charles Jackson as the creator of the fruit, a few others list David Daniel Phillips and still another mentions a Mr. Swaby.
Digging a bit further, I found a post on Facebook that credits David Daniel Phillips as the originator of the ortanique. According to Danielle-Beverley Phillips, a descendant of Phillips, Jackson, Swaby and others got their seedlings and plants from the Phillips nursery, and in 1939, the Jamaica Agricultural Society recognized Phillips as the creator of the ortanique plant and fruit.
Although there is confusion surrounding the origin of the ortanique, there is none about its popularity. The ortanique has been one of Jamaica’s major export products since the 1930s, when it was shipped primarily to Panama, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Today, the ortanique can be found in supermarkets in the US and Canada.
Ortaniques are grown mainly in Manchester which, because if its particular soil combination, produces a special type of fruit. However, there are farms in other parishes.
The ortanique in the photo above comes from Good Hope Plantation in Trelawny. Good Hope grows ortaniques along with other citrus fruits, and packages them on site for export. The boxed fruits above were headed to Canada.
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