EVA Apples: Hi Karin, first let me thank you and your family for joining us in making this blog over this current season. We would like to show our readers and interested people what it takes to produce premium fruit. Also we want to show people where the main challenges in fruit production are. Let’s start right away. Karin, it’s beginning of December, it’s 5° Celsius, the weather is – for December – good, but not very inviting for outdoor activities. Only you and your father are in this huge orchard, what are you doing today?
Karin: We are currently working on the winter cut. The orchard is, because of the dry and nice weather, good to drive on. That’s why we are using the opportunity to also cut the tree tops using our self-driving platform.
EVA Apples: Only looking at this orchard it seems like an enormous endless work. What variety are you growing here and how long does it take for only two people to cut all these trees?
Karin: Here we have 1,5 hectares of the club brand EVELINA. You are Right, even for us it feels likt this work takes forever. But no, you can’t put it this way. During the winter months this is our main work. But there are many things influencing our work. As in this orchard for example we are now first cutting the tree tops and afterwards we need a second run to cut the rest of the trees. Besides that the age of the trees in the orchard, the intensity of the vegetation, the variety and blossom bud rood are also playing an important role. But as a rule of thumb it takes us about 80-120 Hours per hectare.
EVA Apples: What is important when you are doing the winter cut? This is an essential work for growing excellent fruit one year later. Please explain us, what kind of influence this work in December has on the outcome – in regard of quality and quantity – on next year’s harvest?
Karin: Exactly, the winter cut is an essential work step within a production year. As we are getting rid of old and degraded wood and are cutting branches which have grown to strong it is possible to get more light into the trees. This is a main aspect for the coloration and the sugar values. Besides that we can, already at this stage, control the quantity and quality by scrutinizing the blossom buds
EVA Apples: Over the last three months you were all busy with harvesting. What do you think about your last crop? Are you satisfied with the quality? How were the climatic conditions compared to the past?
Karin: We can look back into a good production season. We have excellent qualities in regard of big juicy and perfectly colored apples. And their taste was is just delicious. In recent years we are more and more fighting with heavy rains, tempests and heating weaves. But also the frosts, especially the late frosts are a big challenge for us in order to produce high quality defect free fruit.
EVA Apples: If you are looking back, just a couple months, what has been the biggest challenge during harvest?
Karin: The high temperatures during the harvest have been a big challenge for us. We only had very short time frames for picking the individual varieties. The maturation period was very dynamic which turned out in short time frames for picking. It was almost impossible to plan all harvesting runs the right way. Besides all these factors it’s getting more and more difficult to get motivated and persistent harvesting staff.