Interpoma Tours

Interpoma Press Release

Discover the secrets of South Tyrol’s apples through nine guided tours across three days

Visitors to Bolzano’s international trade show dedicated to the apple industry on November 17th, 18th and 19th will enjoy a number of opportunities to discover best practices adopted by the region’s orchards.

How do you grow apples which are world-renowned for their outstanding quality? Can South Tyrol’s best practices be adopted elsewhere? How are the stages of postharvest organized? These and many other questions will be answered “in the field” by nine guided tours for industry professionals and the press. The tours are organized by Interpoma, the world’s only international apple trade show, which takes place at the Bolzano Exhibition Center between Tuesday, the 17th and Saturday, the 19th of November 2022, in collaboration with the South Tyrolean Advisory Council for Fruit and Viticulture.

Tour 1 “Don’t panic...it’s organic! Production and strategies for the organic market” is organized in collaboration with the South Tyrolean Advisory Council for Fruit and Viticulture and will examine organic farming. Cooperative Biosüdtirol (VOG) in Lana and the Runstnerhof farm in Gargazzone will be in the spotlight. Between them, Biosüdtirol’s three hundred members grow thirty-five different varieties of organic apples. Guests will visit the production and processing facilities where they will have the chance to talk to the director about the cooperative’s sales strategies and the organic apple market. The Zischg family runs the Runstnerhof organic farm in Gargazzone alongside a cafe.

To cater to the high turnout expected, a second tour will run on the same day and timeslot but in reverse order (Tour 2).

Tour 3 “Innovation is the key: varietal experimentation and processing” will also take place on November 17th in Laives and will visit the Fuji Società Agricola s.r.l. fruit farm and the VOG Products fruit processing company. Fuji Società Agricola s.r.l. is an innovative and experimental fruit company which impresses with its wide assortment of varieties. VOG Products processes most of the apples grown in northern Italy which are not destined for fresh consumption. In addition to discovering VOG Products’ wide range of produce, tour participants will visit the production department and learn about the different processing methods – which are carried out to the highest standards.

Tour 4 “The future is today: high technology and new visions for cultivation” will also run on Thursday in the Val Venosta valley. It will take place at Cooperative MIVOR (VIP) in Laces and Michael Mitterer’s fruit farm in Castelbello. MIVOR is one of seven fruit-farming cooperatives united under the VIP umbrella (the association of fruit and vegetable producers in Val Venosta). Following last year’s refurbishment of the production site, guests will have the chance to experience a truly cutting-edge facility first-hand. Ten years ago, the company introduced another ground-breaking project: the computer-operated vertical warehouse. All varieties stored in the warehouse can be viewed in real time and selected according to their coloration and quality. The tour will continue to Michael Mitterer’s integrated fruit farm in Castelbello. This family-run farm has been cultivating different varieties of apple trees using a multi-axis cultivation method for some time.

Friday, November 18th, will open with Tour 5 “Sustainability first: two best practices” at Cooperative Roen (VOG) in Caldaro and Johann Maier and Monika Dissertori’s integrated production farm in Termeno. This visit will explore the practice of growing apples sustainably. Cooperative Roen boasts a new apple sorting machine: The high number of working lines allows for greater flexibility in the sorting and calibration process. The work cycles, which have been built from scratch and optimized, also allow the company to accept third-party sorting contracts. A private photovoltaic system supplies all the electricity the cooperative needs, while a modern water filtration system allows it to reuse water from the sorting and calibration lines, thus reducing water consumption. The tour will continue with a visit to Johann Maier and Monika Dissertori’s fruit farm. This family-run business is built upon three pillars with a long tradition in Bassa Atesina: fruit farming, viticulture, and room and apartment rentals. Its assortment of varieties and cultivation methods (for example multi-axis farming systems) make it a cutting-edge player. During the tour, participants will also hear a presentation about SUSTAINAPPLE, the South Tyrolean apple industry’s sustainable development strategy.

Tour 6 “Micro and macro: two family management models compared” includes a visit to Michael Komiss’ fruit farm in Bolzano, and fruit auction house EGMA and processing company Fructus Meran in Vilpiano. In addition to growing different varieties of apples using integrated production methods, Michael Komiss’ farm also sells dried apple rings which it produces itself and markets under the brand name “frutty” (https://www.frutty.it/). EGMA and the processing company Fructus are both run by the same family. The nearby auction house – which is open to visitors – processes 30,000 tons of fruit from almost three hundred growers between August and October. The FRUCTUS production department is located right next door: This company is famous across Europe for its cooked and pasteurized apples and pears and for its frozen fruits.

Tour 7 “Excellence is nothing without technique: sprayers and irrigation” will take place at the same time as Tour 6 and involves transfer to the sprayer servicing center in Lana and Thomas Gruber’s farm. The South Tyrolean Advisory Council for Fruit & Viticulture manages this approved sprayer inspection center in Lana. All farmers who follow the AGRIOS protocol and/or Global G.A.P. guidelines are obliged to carry out periodic checks. During the visit guests will be able to observe how the nozzle flow rate is measured and how sprayers are serviced. The second stop is at Thomas Gruber’s fruit farm. Its structure and varieties are typical of South Tyrolean apple farms. In recent years, Thomas Gruber has introduced various sustainable practices: It adjusts irrigation to the plants’ needs using a tensiometer (soil moisture sensors) and solar panels provide all the electricity the farm needs, including the electric harvesting platform.

Tour 8 “Melinda’s hypogeal cells: apples stored inside mountains” is scheduled for Friday the 18th and will be repeated on Saturday, the 19th with the same program (Tour 9). Participants will visit the Rio Maggiore Mine, located inside a cave carved into the Dolomite rock. They will discover the first and only underground refrigerated fruit storage system, which keeps the fruit at a constant temperature all year round. This truly natural refrigerator hidden inside the Dolomites preserves quality while respecting the environment.

“To celebrate the return of in-person visits,” commented Thomas Mur, Director of Bolzano’s FieraMesse, “we have chosen a particularly dynamic and captivating program which covers various topics related to growing and processing apples. Our guests will have the chance to see first-hand the most innovative technologies that we are adopting in South Tyrol, as well as learn about new agronomic methods for growing organic and sustainable products. Once again, we are ready to show the world that we are one of the most innovative apple-growing regions.”

The number of participants per tour will be limited: Booking and buying your ticket online is essential.

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Florian Schmittner

Florian Schmittner

Public Relations – DE (paternity leave)