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the secrets of lychee, the exotic fruit of the end of the year celebrations

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C.Rougerie, S.Guibout, E.Urtado, Drone images: IRT / Lionel Ghighi – unlimited rights

France 2

France Televisions

Lychee is one of the stars of the holiday season. Report from Reunion, where the exotic fruit is picked.

Its color from light pink to dark red and its jagged bark herald the end of the year celebrations. Tasted at any time of the day, lychee brings an exotic scent in the middle of winter. 9,000 kilometers from Paris, on Reunion Island, the harvest lasts from mid-November to early January. Acrobatic work, thirty meters high. Raphaël Avice, who owns a seven hectare orchard, made the choice of organic ten years ago. “The big part is intended for export”, he explains. In 2019, Réunion exported 984 tonnes of lychees to France, and more than a thousand the following year. A growing success which demands quality. On the sorting platform, only the most beautiful fruits are selected.

The SCA fruits Réunion cooperative is recruiting around 40 employees to concoct bouquets at the height of the season. Lychees from Réunion are transported by plane, while those from Madagascar take a long boat trip and must therefore be treated: “We put a film of sulfur on the lychee to prevent oxidation”, explains Nicolas Etheve, commercial director of the cooperative. A delight to brighten up the end-of-year holiday tables.

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