The Fruits of Our Labor

The Venosta Valley is apple country. Some farmers, though, still prefer to grow apricots. Why more than apples grow in paradise.

  • May 2015

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The Fruits of Our Labor

The Venosta Valley is apple country. Some farmers, though, still prefer to grow apricots. Why more than apples grow in paradise.

In the Val Venosta Valley there are 120 apricot growers and 2,000 apple growers. Why do farmers opt for apricots? Is it David over Goliath?

Fifteen years ago, the Val Venosta/Vinschgau Valley Apricot had almost completely disappeared. It seemed easier and more lucrative to grow apples all over the valley. Some farmers adhered to the tradition of the Val Venosta Valley Apricot; others have found it to be a niche that offers them a new agricultural perspective; and a few are simply too stubborn to give up growing apricots in the Val Venosta Valley.

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Martin Fliri Dane, who lives in Tubre/Taufers im Münstertal, is the pope of the Venosta Valley Apricot. He always waits until his apricots are so ripe that they fall from the tree, and then he picks them up off the ground. Twenty years ago, he brought the Hunzamarille from Pakistan to South Tyrol and, together with the Laimburg Research Centre, tried to grow a new South Tyrolean apricot from the seeds. The project had various degrees of success.

For Karl Luggin of Kandlwaalhof Farm in Lasa/Laas, it was “simply not enough to produce only apples.” The whole family works together to process the apricots. Jam made from the Venosta Valley Apricot is considered to be a delicacy in South Tyrol. Now Kandlwaalhof also makes vinegar, mustard and dried fruit from apricots.

Günther Tappeiner of Außerloretzhof Farm in Lasa specializes in distilling brandies. “Apricots must smell,” he says. Even for making brandy, apricot must be harvested at the right time. Immature or mushy fruit doesn’t make it into the kiln.In Lasa, there is celebration that takes place just in time for the apricot harvest: Marble & Apricots is a chance for the people of the Val Venosta Valley to exhibit the hardest and most delicate products that the valley has to offer.

Photo: Alex Filz
Video: Andreas Pichler