Today, Jaffa has become a generic name for high quality citrus fruit, having served as a favorite snack for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth I. Over the past 70 years, the Jaffa brand has evolved to include a variety of citrus fruits, including oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, and lemons, in addition to multiple other hybrids and cultivars. Its global success can be attributed to strong R&D programs, scientific cultivation techniques, and cooperation between exporters and Arab and Israeli farmers who jointly market under the Jaffa emblem.
Inhabitation of Jaffa started some 10,000 ago, though its recognition as a prominent port in the Ancient World spans three millennia. Over the course of its history, the Mediterranean Seaport has played a vital role in the conquests of the Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, Roman Empire, Ottomans, Napoleon, among others. Jaffa today is also knows at “The Big Orange” – part of the vibrant modern city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Cultivation of oranges began during the Ottoman period in the 19th century, as a result of trade with the Far East. Its moderate climate and fertile soil proved ideal conditions for citrus growing, giving rise to the then famous Shamouti orange. This unique Jaffa Orange was distinguished for its sweet fine taste, deep orange color, and thick peel with few seeds, making it especially suitable for export. With thousands of orchards surrounding the city, Jaffa was the only port to export citrus from late 19th century until the establishment of modern ports in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashdod.