Apples are the attraction here

By TheHindu on 15 Nov 2016

FRUIT OF LABOUR: The apples grown at the farm of George Joseph near Kanthallur in Idukki district.

It’s apple land. Red, green, golden and sandal coloured ripen apples. Forty-five varieties of them.

As one enters the five-acre farm of George Joseph on the Kanthallur-Mannavanchola National Park route any season, there will be some fruit or the other there, but the main attraction is apple.

Favourable climate and good soil. And, of course, hard work. One can cultivate even alien fruits at Kanthallur, says Mr. Joseph, a teacher by profession. His wife Jessy helps him out in farming.

“I first cultivated fruit trees and plants that were common in the area. Later I tried to get other varieties of fruit saplings and found that they could be grown at Kanthallur.”

At first his brother brought 15 varieties of apple saplings from Kashmir and after some time he began collecting saplings from outside the country. Once apple saplings from Australia and China arrive here, Mr. Joseph claims that he would be endowed with all varieties grown in various parts of the world.

Apple varieties grown in Switzerland, the U.S., England and Bulgaria are in his farms. They are of different shapes and colours. Some apples weigh up to half a kilogram. Mr. Joseph gets around 500 kg of apples a season.

He cultivates strawberries among orange and apple plants. The climate here is conducive for growing strawberries and 1 kg fetches him Rs.250. He has eight varieties of strawberries in his farms and marketing the fruit is not a problem as he has regular customers from various parts of the State.

He has devoted 15 years to develop the farm to its present condition.

Giji K. Raman