The story of the „forgotten“ orchard
The „forgotten“ orchard full of intense red treasures It’s late October. I go for a walk through Val Venosta’s apple orchards lined with so many paths on a autumn day. The harvest in the land of Golden Delicious and Gala was finished weeks ago and you can hardly see any tractors on the small roads that lead to the single orchards. And there are less cyclists than usual due to already cooler temperatures. The trees look so empty: they still have their green leaves but they will soon be as brown as the deciduous trees’ leaves of the adjacent woods. They will lose their chlorophyll and finally shed leaves. It’s nature’s moment of weakness before recovering and restarting the cycle. The trees somehow look sad without any apples, even though they will probably feel relieved in the end. Because nothing weighs more heavily on their branches and extracts so much energy from their roots. They can finally relax after having given splendid fruits. A wonderful thought. After half an hour of relaxed walking I can’t believe my eyes. A farmer must have forgotten a whole orchard during the harvest! There are dozens of intense red apples on every tree. How is that possible?
What kind of new variety is this? And why has this farmer not harvested these apples yet? Even if this orchard is well hidden in Val Venosta’s apple garden, I can’t believe that an apple producer has really forgotten such a large orchard. Especially if you consider that an average apple producer from Val Venosta only owns a few hectares. Such an orchard must attract attention! I have to get to the bottom of this. I open an app on my smartphone and save the geographic coordinates to mark the place – just in case. Is there also a finder’s reward for orchards? I carefully pick one of the bright red, apparently ripe fruits from the tree. Otherwise, nobody will believe me in the village. I’ve never seen such an apple before. It’s so different. It seems so heavy, so full of substance. And as hard as a small Golden Delicious months before the harvest. Is it ripe yet? But how can I find out? I return home at a smart pace. There I will ask my neighbor Michael who grows apples. He must know it. If necessary, he can help me trace this inattentive or distractive apple producer. After just a few minutes, I’m too weak and give up. It’s too tempting. I bite into the apple. Wow! Where is it from? How can an apple be so juicy, crunchy and compact at the same time?
And so sweet! An aroma that reminds me of pears. This apple is definitely ripe – no doubt. It tastes too perfect not to be ripe yet! So my theory seems to be true. The orchard has been forgotten. I have to warn the owner. He has forgotten a real treasure! I’m suddenly seized by doubts and I drastically slow down the pace. What if the farmer wanted to start the harvest today? So I’ve “stolen” one of his precious apples. Nobody will believe me. Maybe, they will also insult me. But in this case I should rather return and take some more of these precious fruits. They would be worth the sin. Who knows when I can get something like that the next time. Damn! What next?
When an apple is so delicious, it’s name must be Envy™ My fate frees me from this mental dilemma. I hear a tractor. My thoughts merge. No matter who it will be, I will entrust myself to the farmer and ask him. He must believe me somehow or other. Lucky me! It’s my neighbor Michael. I can tell him everything. But before I can say a word, he shouts: „Hey! Did you want to steal my Envy™ apples?“ I still hold the apple in my hand and feel the sweet, juicy taste in the mouth. I hope Michael will briefly look away so that I could take another bite and ask: „Stealing? What do you mean?”
„You are holding one of my Envy™ apples. How is it?“ asks Michael and stops the tractor in front of me. I would like to say “fantastic” but I’m so puzzled and, carefully evaluating my position, I only say: “Not bad.“ „Not bad? Are you choking? It’s fantastic“. Somehow, it doesn’t make any sense to tell the truth. I wouldn’t even believe myself. I’d better keep the legend of the forgotten orchard to myself. „I couldn’t resist the temptation, Michael. I was too curious. I wanted to know how they taste,“ I say frankly and enjoy my second bite. Wow! Michael sees that this delicious apple makes my mouth water. Instead of being angry he says with a smile: „Why do you think have I planted this new variety in a hidden orchard far away from the normal roads? This apple is called Envy™. True to its name because if an apple is so good it attracts enviers just as light attracts moths.” He explains me that Envy™ comes from New Zealand but can find perfect conditions here in Val Venosta. It’s a crossing of Gala and Braeburn, two apple varieties that also grow well in our valley. Michael briefly introduces me to pomology and to „living on the field“ in the full sense of the word.
The apple producers stand in queue for such a club variety. The quantities produced are consciously limited worldwide so that consumers also line up at the supermarket. And I’ll be definitely one of them. In Val Venosta, Envy™ grows best at altitudes of up to 800 meters where it can fully develop the characteristics it is popular for: its bright red and slightly striped top color on a yellow base. Visually, it’s a real eye-catcher, which is also confirmed on the palate after the first bite. „Bite and believe“ is not just an advertising slogan but also a promise that’s easy to keep. This variety will definitely provide great joy to apple producers such as Michael for years.
Have you ever wondered who defends your apples in Val Venosta? Most of you would say the farmers, of course, with meticulous inspection rounds and skillful movements. That’s true but tiny creatures do a large part of the work, too. Get to know them!