How about plucking glistening red apples straight from the trees? You dont have to travel to Kashmir or Karnataka for this, instead just drive to Marayoor’s Kanthalloor. It is the only place in the state where apple is cultivated, and tourists reach there to taste fresh apples from the courtyard of farmhouses.
Here you can find people who have planted an apple tree as an experiment to those who are extensively involved in apple cultivation. Apple trees start flowering by January The majority of the fruit ripen by the end of July.
Though the fruits are ready to be sold in markets by July, usually the orchard owners prefer to keep the apples on the trees. At least till the Onam season. For the owners, it is more profitable to sell the apples directly to the visitors and they even manage to get a better price than in the market. For the foreigners sampling, Kerala grown apples will be a novelty. During the earlier days, Kanthalloor which is considered as a fruit hub used to cultivate orange, guava, gooseberry, blackberry, egg fruit, peach, plum, passion fruit, sabarjilli, tamarillo, etc. It’s after the Government and Kanthalloor Panchayath administration started a fruit tree plantation project at a home that this apple farming project kicked off.
It is estimated that around 5 hectares is under apple cultivation. It is said that the average temperature suitable for apple farming in Kanthalloor is 5 to 15°C. There are Kashmiri species such as Tropical Beauty and Parle Beauty grown here. The apple seed varieties like Royal Delicious, Granny Smith, and Gyani Gold are brought from Kodaikanal and Himachal Pradesh. A single apple tree will produce over 40 kgs of apples. Green apples are also available here. Perumala, Puthoor, Thalachorkadavu, Kulachivayal are some of the places where apple cultivation is in full form. With the opening to tourist centres, the tourists are eagerly waiting to visit these apples farms. Most of the best resorts in Munnar organize trips to Kanthalloor fruit farms, especially for Malayalis who watch fruits only in supermarkets and stalls,fruit farm will be a great surprise.
Popular varieties of apples grown in India
Granny Smith Apples: They are bright green in colour and are originally from Australia. When they are ripe, the green skin has a touch of red.
Pink Lady Apple: This apple is a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. They have pink skin and have a sweet-tart taste
Red Delicious Apple: This apple has red skin with white flecks. They are big, crispy, and have a juicy and sweet flavor. One of the most popular types of apple available all around the world. In India, they are mostly grown in Kashmir and a few other Himalayan belts.
Cameo Apple: Originated in Washington, these apples are thought to come from both Red and Yellow Delicious Apples as it has a crispy, juicy, and sweet taste with a touch of tart. It’s red and yellow skin is thicker than the Golden Delicious but thinner than the Red.
Opal Apple: They are medium sized apples having yellow skin with russeting at the stem. It has a crisp flesh that has a sweet taste and tart finish.
Gala Apple: It has yellow skin with pink to red stripes. The shape of Gala apples is similar to Golden and Red Delicious Apples. It is pleasantly mild and has a crispy texture. It is also one of the smallest apples amongst other apples.
Fuji Apple: Fuji Apple has light green skin with reddish orange color. This firm fruit makes for an excellent snack. It is a cross between Red Delicious and Ralls Janet. It was created in the 1930s by Japanese growers. It is a large crisp apple similar to Red Delicious Apple with an intense sweetness.
Envy Apple: Envy Apples are outrageously sweet. They stay bright long after you cut them.
Winesap Apple: Winesap Apple is used for making cider. It is a reddish violet apple having a spicy flavor.
Yellow Delicious: This is a mild, sweet apple having bright yellow skin. They have juicy flesh and taste similar to Red Delicious Apples. They have soft skin but not as soft as McIntosh or Cortland.
Rome Apple: It has a juicy, mild, and sweet apple with bright red skin.
McIntosh apple: if you love the softness of fruits, then you must try the McIntosh apples. This variant of apple is comparatively soft and are mostly used for baking.