Kerala’s Kanthallur orchards woo tourists with farm-fresh apple

Updates from :  the hindu

It is the only place in the State where apple is cultivated

Another apple season has started at Kanthallur in Idukki, giving a boost to farm tourism activities there. Kanthallur is the only place in the State where apple is cultivated and tourists reach there to taste fresh apples from the courtyard of farmhouses.

Apple is a late entrant to Kanthallur, a fruit hub, where almost all varieties of fruits grow. There is no season in Kanthallur without a ripened fruit available there. These include orange, guava, gooseberry, blackberry, egg fruit, peach, plum, passion fruit, sabarjilli, tamarillo, etc.

However, apple is the preferred fruit among tourists as they can roam around the orchard and pluck the fruit and eat it there. They can purchase it directly from farmers and the latter get a better price than in the market.

July to August is the prime apple season. It is grown at Kulachivayal, Keezhanthur, Perumala, and Puthur in the grama panchayat. Though apple is not the main fruit at Kanthallur, farmers cultivate it with other fruit species. It is estimated that around 5 hectares is under apple cultivation.

Additional income

“It is an additional income to the farmers and tourists who taste it also purchase and pay better,” says C.T.Kuruvila, an apple farmer, adding that more farmers are taking up apple cultivation.

Kanthallur agriculture officer M.Govindaraj says soil and climate are suitable for apple cultivation, though the production depends on climatic conditions.

“If the temperature drops below O° C in the winter, apple production will be better. The average temperature favourable to apple farming in Kanthallur is 5 to 15°C. Unlike orange, which had been cultivated there for decades, farmers chose apple cultivation nearly a decade back with Kashmiri species such as Tropical Beauty and Parle Beauty grown there,” Mr. Kuruvila says.

Apple trees shed leaves in January and new leaves and flowers emerge by February. The majority of the fruit ripen by the end of July. Orange is the other attraction for the tourists visiting the orchards in Kanthallur.

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