THERE’S A belief that the many golden apples mentioned in Greek mythology — the food and playthings of the gods — were actually oranges from the East. Also, just in case you want to know, the name of the color comes from the fruit and not the other way around. Now, the fruit is grown everywhere, with 2018 data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization stating that 73 million tons of oranges are grown worldwide.

Of these, nearly 10,000 tons are exported from Australia to the Philippines, from a “negligible” amount in 2013, according to David Daniels, Citrus Australia’s General Manager for Market Development. Market access for Australian fruits was granted by the Philippine government in 2012, but Mr. Daniels said, “We’ve actually had market access for a lot of years before 2012, but the conditions were… very difficult.”

Today, according to him, the Philippines is the ninth largest market for Australian citrus fruits.

“It just took us a few years to get the science together and to get that science to the Philippine government… that’s a lengthy process.”

The vitamin-C rich fruit was the star of a trade event at the Hilton Manila last week, where oranges were prepared as a variety of dishes, from savory to sweet, in order to show the fruit’s versatility. The dishes included a marvelous smoked duck breast with candied Australian orange, grilled beef skewers with oranges, braised lamb in couscous with oranges, and dessert, of course, with a flourless orange and almond cake.

“Australian oranges arguably have the best color, flavor, and sweetness of any citrus in the world,” said Mr. Daniels.

Nardia Simpson, Economic Counsellor for the Australian Embassy, said that the fruits are available in the Philippines only from July to October to ensure that “premium picks are offered to the Philippine consumer.” She also credits the increase of their products coming into the Philippines with an increase in consumer demand, as well as an increase in the number of retail stores offering their produce within and outside the capital.

While Mr. Daniels points to the extraordinary terrain and climate of Australia for their produce, he of course applauds the growers, numbering about 2,000. “Our growers are working hard to consistently and reliably deliver the best possible fruit to market.

“It’s not just luck that makes our fruit best in the world.”

It might sound like a stretch, but asking how one markets a fruit to occupy a level higher than similar produce from other markets, Mr. Daniels said, “We let the product speak for itself.” He points out, for example, that consumers are aware of oranges from South Africa, the US, and Argentina.

“When we compare against (for example), a South African piece of fruit, the flavor and the color will be different.” — JL Garcia