Italy Organic apples
Near the lush and picturesque mountains of the Dolomites in Italy’s north, fertile soils, fresh air, and pure mountain water come together to create perfect growing conditions for some of the most delicious produce you can get your hands on.
This area – which covers Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige – is sprinkled with quiet villages, charming vineyards, bountiful orchards and winding country roads. In spring, the landscape comes alive with soft white blossoms and, in summer, the scent of fresh ripe fruit fills the air.
It’s here that we source our Golden Delicious apples and, with an intense golden hue and crisp juicy flavour, they certainly live up to their name.
The cold winter frosts and warm days found here encourage the apples to develop their unique taste but the orchards themselves need a little love and care by a select few experts who live and breathe organic fruit farming, such as Juris Zadra from Industrialfrut.
Juris is a third-generation farmer in these parts after taking over the family business from his father many years ago. He happily owns and farms 4000 hectares of land across Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige, growing multiple varieties of apples, sweet peaches and juicy kiwis.
Upon meeting him, Juris’ passion for his work is evident.
"I am happiest when I’m out in my fields,” he said. “I like to be able to breathe the fresh air and touch the fruit in the orchards."
"I love what I do. Every year is a surprise – the climate, the crop. I like how every year is different."
All the apples on Juris’ farm are picked by hand with Golden Delicious plucked from their branches throughout September each year which is no easy feat; for every 10 hectares, 10 people are needed to handpick the ripe and ready fruit with each tree growing 20-30kg of crisp apples.
Despite an abundance of fruit, the apple trees here are surprisingly low maintenance with nature doing most of the hard work. In the first few years when the trees are young, farmers dig up the soil to help nourish them but, once they’re older, they simply trim any weeds that spring up around the orchard. One tree can fruit for up to 15 years, after which time it’s dug up and replaced by a different crop to let the soil recover naturally.
Juris said his trees were never pruned which helped them produce more fruit that was sweeter and tastier.
While Juris still has many happy years to come at his farm, he hopes one of his two children will want to continue on the family business one day so future generations can enjoy this spectacular fruit too.