More bio and ‘underground’ sustainability

Melinda continues to launch new varieties as it strengthens its environmental commitment

The strengthening of the agreement between Melinda and the Consortium La Trentina has lead to a new sales season in which APOT (Trentino Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers) has been marketing both the Melinda and La Trentina apples and other fruits. But the agreement between these two realities does not stop here: recently, during the Interpoma fair in Bolzano, the two Presidents of Melinda and La Trentina signed with Evelina GmbH International a contract for the production and marketing of the apple “Tessa”, the Fengapi variety. With this, and the latest acquisitions of new apples, the two companies are taking a step further in their variety diversification strategy, the mainstay of which consists at the same time in the gradual reduction in Golden apple volumes and in its quality improvement: “We want to produce Golden only in the most suitable regions in order to be able to reach maximum excellence and leave the areas that are not as suitable for other varieties. However, Golden apples will continue to be the queen of our range, making up virtually 70% of the total” Andrea Fedrizzi, Marketing Manager at Melinda, explains to Fruit Today.

Highly aware of the importance of R&D, Melinda is working on developing varieties that have strong distinctive characteristics and that are resistant and/or suitable for an organic production. In the first group, they have new developments such as Morgana (The Kizuri variety) that is gaining very positive feedback thanks to its flavour and juiciness. In 2019 they will launch another reference pending registration, Gradisca; in addition to Minneiska SweeTango, an early red variety, that stands out due to its incredible bite. “The internal cells of its flesh are double the size of the ones in other apples, turning it into a very crunchy apple that is very pleasant to the palate, without being stringy.”

In the other R&D group we can find the apple-snack Isaaq, the red-fleshed Kissabel and other varieties, like Galant, which are scab resistant.

A unique storage model

Sustainability is at the heart of Melinda’s daily work and it will become an increasingly important aspect for the company. Fedrizzi advances that they are going to move on from 80 hectares of Bio Melinda apple production to 300 hectares (an extra 400%) over the next three years and in the short-medium term their aim is for 10% of their total production to be organic. An important part of this project involves the ‘Bio Islands’, concentrations of bio-producers that can create a microcosm where the suitable growing conditions can be controlled best. For 2025 they expect to have 500 hectares of bio produce along with La Trentina, within APOT.

Another of its sustainability milestones is the start up of Underground Caves, storerooms dug out 300 metres below the Dolomites. “On the surface, on the mountains, we grow the apples and inside the mountains, we store them.” A unique project in the world that allows an important energy saving of 53% compared to conventional storerooms, and significant water savings (equivalent to 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools every year). These caves allow 30,000 tonnes to be stored, around 200 million apples.”

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