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Harvest starts around Lake Constance:

'Good starting position for domestic apricots'

On 13 June, the first apricots from this year's harvest were picked at the Martin family farm in Eriskirch. The family-run fruit farm is one of the few apricot producers in the Lake Constance region and has been involved in the cultivation of this heat-loving crop from the very beginning. Overall, the fruit came through the blossoming phase well. "We are seeing very good quality and good fruit set on the trees. The entire plantation of around two hectares is now covered with film: the special thing about it is that the plantation is closed all year round - even in winter. Fortunately, this year we only had one night at the end of April with sub-zero temperatures of -1.7 degrees, so we were spared frost damage. With the VOEN canopy and multiple treatments with plant protection products, we were also well-prepared for the recent heavy rain events and the associated disease pressure," owner Heinz Martin summarises.

'Demand like never before'
In terms of marketing, the local apricot is also in a particularly good position. "The prices are promising: we are now achieving producer prices of around four euros per kilo at the start of the season, and the entry-level price in the farm shop is now 6.50 euros per kilo," continues the stone fruit producer, referring to the increasing demand for local apricots. "We are experiencing unprecedented demand. With Landfrisch AG, we have a strong marketing partner who is keen to offer local apricots, and the majority of food retail chains are also orientated towards regional fruit crops these days. In addition, both Spain and Styria have suffered severe hail damage in stone fruit production, which is why the marketing and price pressure will probably not be as high this year. On the other hand, we also have to be careful not to set prices too high. Currently, prices per kilo of Spanish produce are sometimes around seven to eight euros, which is too expensive for consumers at some point. In this respect, the current price level is fine from the producer's point of view."

Heinz Martin addressed Agriculture Minister Cem Ă–zdemir during a Q&A session at this year's Fruchtwelt Bodensee. Martin has been involved in apricot production for around nine years now, and also cultivates nectarines and peaches.

Less effort, high investment
Compared to sweet cherries and plums, the cultivation effort in terms of pruning and plant protection is significantly lower for apricots, which is also partly thanks to the year-round film roofing. "However, the investment costs are comparatively much higher. If we were to remove the film canopy after the season, as we did with the plums, the lifespan of the film would be around ten years. As the system is also closed in winter, the lifespan will now be a maximum of seven years, which in turn represents a significant cost factor."

This year's apricot harvest started on 13 June with the picking of the early variety Spring Blush. Thanks to the wide range of varieties, local apricots can now be enjoyed until the end of August. The orchard's portfolio also includes the Lotte and Kyoto varieties.

Cultivation of premium plums
The Martin family is also co-initiator of Vitamin See GmbH, the organisation behind the successful premium plum Baronesse, which is primarily marketed via Landfrisch AG. Similar to the apricots, the plums also grow and thrive exclusively under foil roofing. "Here, too, we have seen a very good crop so far, and we are expecting a bumper harvest year," concludes Martin.

Pictures: Martin Obst GbR

For more information:
Heinz and Alexander Martin
Martin Obst GbR
Wolfzennen 5
88097 Eriskirch
Tel.: +49 1713048312
Fax: +49 (0) 7541 981888
Email: [email protected]

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