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The Giro in Val di Non: discovering PDO apples

We are talking about PDO apples, the Melinda apples from Val di Non, the only ones in Italy to bear this mark.

reading time3 minutes

Cycling is often a team game, and today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, Ponte di Legno-Lavarone, comes to a place where the saying ‘there’s safety in numbers’ has been put into practice.

In the Trento province, 4,000 farming families have joined to create the Consorzio Melinda and grow the only apple in Italy with the POD (Protected Designation of Origin) mark.

Apple growing: an ancient tradition

For centuries, the economy of Val di Non relied almost exclusively on mulberry cultivation (food for the silkworm), indispensable to the textile industry, and on viticulture. The latter was definitively abandoned after World War II, while there were several reasons why mulberry growing ended, not least an epidemic that struck silkworms in the early 1900s. Anyway, the systematic cultivation of a kind of apples that stay juicy and healthy even in winter, without preservatives, began in Trentino as early as the mid-19th century.

Consorzio Melinda is founded

Over the years, as irrigation techniques improved, dozens of apple growers consortia sprang up in Val di Non and Val di Sole.

In 1989, the growers, to be more competitive, decided to merge into one large consortium under the single brand Melinda to evoke a healthy, clean apple. They adopted a detailed code of ethics with the principles that inspire the Consortium’s culture and conduct, also signing a protocol for integrated production. They invest in environmentally friendly packaging and advertising.

Storage in underground cells

The consortium uses only renewable energy sources and covers 11% of its needs. Melinda has chosen to store its precious fruit in underground chambers to reduce emissions from cold storage. These are underground caves created at a depth of 300 metres by the mining activities of the San Romedio Mine Group, and today, they are an enormous natural refrigerator.

Today, Melinda has 4000 members, is based in Cles (TN), and is one of the largest producers in Trentino. It is the leader in Italy, producing 400,000 tonnes of apples per year and selling throughout Europe.

Discover the other Trentino companies that make Made in Italy products known worldwide.