On September 4, passers-by in the city centers of Bonn, Düren and Cologne were presented with a similar picture: In these towns, fruit farmers were out and about with green vests and baskets, carrying information cards and large crates full of freshly picked apples from the region.
"We wanted to use the campaign to engage in conversation with consumers and draw their attention to the benefits of local fruit," says Ferdinand Völzgen from the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg fruit-growing association, which organized this day in the Rhineland. "And we succeeded," Völzgen and his fellow campaigners claim. "We got to talking with many passers-by and were able to give everyone a freshly picked apple to take away." Around 50 fruit growers gave out a total of more than 20,000 apples in the Rhineland today.
At the Apostelnkloster monastery in Cologne, fruit growers from the region handed out freshly picked apples from the region to passers-by on Saturday, 9/4/21. Photo: Roland Schmitz-Hübsch.
The apple distribution campaign took place throughout Germany under the motto "Regional = Climate Neutral?!" to inform consumers about the advantages of regional fruit cultivation. In particular, the fruit growers highlighted the climate friendliness of local fruit. After all, fruit from the region does not have to be transported by truck across Europe for days on end, or even overseas, before it reaches the shelves. Buying regional fruit helps to relieve traffic congestion and save several tons of climate-damaging CO2.
In downtown Bonn last Saturday, fruit growers from the region informed passers-by about fruit growing in the region - and of course gave them a freshly picked apple from the region to take with them. Photo: Herbert Knuppen.
Consumers were quite interested in what the growers had to say. They also asked the fruit growers many questions, which the latter answered in detail. For example, passers-by asked the fruit growers what they do to protect the bees. The answer was: a lot! Orchards by themselves already provide an important habitat for insects. Fruit growers further encourage this by installing nesting boxes and planting flowering strips to further increase the food supply for insects into late summer. "It is very important to us fruit growers to protect bees and other pollinating insects. Because just as they need the nectar and pollen of fruit blossoms for their own survival, we need their help in pollinating the blossoms," explains Philip Wißkirchen, 1st Chairman of the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Fruit Growers' Association.
Right: On the Düren market square, passers-by got answers to their questions about regional fruit growing - and of course a freshly picked apple from the region to take with them on their way. Photo: Kristina Wollseifen.
Another frequently asked question from passers by: Where can I buy regionally cultivated apples? Quite simple: in the farm stores and, of course, in any supermarket! Regional fruit is marked in stores with the label "Harvested in Germany," for example. Our tip to consumers: Simply ask the sales staff which apples in the display are from local cultivation. And if there are no apples from Germany: Actively demand from the local supermarket management that they also stock domestic fruit in their market! "We domestic fruit growers only have a future if there is a clear and unequivocal 'yes' to regionality from all sides, i.e. from consumers and food retailers," sums up Georg Boekels, Chairman of the Provincial Fruit Growers' Group in the Provinzialverband. "That's why we're pleased that we met with a lot of approval, understanding and support with our messages at the apple distribution campaign in the Rhineland."
About the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg fruit-growing specialist group
The Fachgruppe Obstbau Bonn/Rhein-Sieg is a regional sub-organization of the Provinzialverband Rheinischer Obst- und Gemüsebauer e.V. (Provincial Association of Rhenish Fruit and Vegetable Growers), the group representing fruit and vegetable growers in the North Rhine region of North Rhine-Westphalia. The group counts about 140 fruit growers from the southern Rhineland among its members. They grow not only apples and pears, but also other popular types of fruit, like strawberries, raspberries, currants and blackberries, sweet cherries and plums. The Rhineland fruit growers market their fruit from their own cultivation either through their own farm store or the trade - true to the motto: From the region, for the region.
For more information:
Fachgruppe Obstbau Bonn/Rhein-Sieg