All set for apple harvest at Kanthallur

By TheHindu on 08 Aug 2018

It is another apple season in the fruit-growing belt of Kanthallur, near Marayur, in the district.

The farms with ripened apples in red, orange or yellow colour will be ready in a week or two.

The apple cultivation in Kanthallur started nearly one-and-a-half decades ago and many farmers turned to it as it was found that the climatic and soil conditions of the area were best suited for apple farming.

Kanthallur is the only area in the State where apple is grown commercially and the taste, colour and quality are similar to the apples of Darjeeling or Kashmir.

C.T. Kuruvila, an apple farmer, told The Hindu that the fully ripened apple will be ready in his farm within two weeks.

Though he does not sell his fruits outside, those visiting the farm can purchase fresh apple and get better prices too. There are nearly 50 apple trees with fruits in his farm in addition to many in the early period of growth.He said that he mainly grows varieties such as Tropical Beauty and Parle Beauty. Some seeds collected from Darjeeling and Kashmir are at an early stage of growth, he said adding that only when they bear fruits the variety would be known.

Mr. Kuruvila said there is a growth period of three years for bearing the fruit in the case of grafted plants.

If not grafted, only the wild apple in white colour will be there. He started apple cultivation commercially 14 years ago.

There are apple farms in Puthur, Perumala, Guhanathapuram and Kulavayal.

Chandran, an apple farmer at Guhanathapuram, said that during January, the trees will shed all the leaves and by February it will flower and new leaves will grow along with the fruits.

Before changing colour as they ripen, all the fruits will be of green colour.

The farmers here started apple cultivation on an experimental basis on the courtyard of their houses with one or two plants. When it was found successful, they started cultivation in the farms.

The farms in Kanthallur will soon be opened for visitors to Munnar and people can purchase fresh apples from there.

Mr Kuruvila said that if the Agriculture Department provided support, many fruit farmers will turn towards apple cultivation.

The Kanthallur orange, plums and strawberry are favourites for the visitors to the farms.

Shelf life

However, compared to other fruits, apple has an edge as it can be easily sold.

The shelf life of the Kanthallur apple too is long and farmers mostly grow them organically.