Djakovo: Pay for an Apple as You Pick It from a Tree!

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Pexels | Apples
Pexels | Apples

Pexels | Apples

September 1, 2020 – Whoever wants an apple, can come to Marijan’s orchard, pick it from a tree and pay 3 kuna per kilogram. Marijan Bakula, a fruit grower from Djakovo, will soon open the door of his truly unique orchard-supermarket.

In the last week of September or the first one in October, depending on the weather conditions, Djakovo-based fruit grower Marijan Bakula will open the doors of his unique orchard – supermarket, so that for the third year in a row customers will become pickers again and be able to get their hands on quality apples at a symbolic price. This year, the price of the queen of fruit, as well as other fruits and vegetables, went up on the shelves (and by more than ten kuna), and Bakula will sell it in his “fruit supermarket” for three kuna. Depending on the deadline for the harvest, there is a possibility that he will lower the price even further, writes Glas Slavonije.

Placement and workforce

“Last year, buyers picked a crop of 800 apple trees in literally a day and a half, depending on whether they picked the apples or picked them up from the ground, but the fruit went so quickly that there was no time for it to fall to the ground, really. All this for 2 to 2.5 kuna/kg. I gave out some of the apples last year for just one kuna. This autumn I’m going with a unique price of three kuna, because last year, when I settled everything, I had net earnings of 1,500 euros. Besides, I received information that the state would protect this fruit at the price of four kuna,” said Bakula.

This fruit grower decided on an unusual harvest back in 2018 when he was left without the previous placement of apples from his orchard on one hectare near the fuel station towards Satnica Đakovačka. He came up with the idea of ​​how to get rid of fruit with which he had nowhere to go after losing a customer, and according to the “customer is also an apple picker” model, he also solved his labour problem at the same time. In the first year, he was selling an apple for a kuna and a half, and then for two kuna. His call was immediately met with a massive response – buyer-pickers came individually, in groups, as families, spouses came… some were picking fruit, others were buying it from where it had fallen onto the ground, at a lower price for the winter, in order to make jam, juice and more.

Others are clearing the orchard

“Last year, 15 tonnes of fruit were harvested in my orchard. This year, too, the orchard gave us a lot of fruit,” said Bakula, as evidenced by the yellow and red apples on his branches, depending on whether the apple is a Golden Delicious, a Jonagold, an Idared, a Gloucester…

In the first coronavirus-dominated harvest, as Bakula announced, things will take place with disinfectants, gloves, masks at the entrance, and his own bags. He says it is a benefit that this job is all done outdoors. Until the new self-service harvest comes to be, there will be a wooden checkpoint – a lookout in the orchard. “From it, as the highest point here, there’s a great view of Đakovo, and customers will be able to drink coffee in our arrangement for free,” announced Bakula. This year, he expects that buyers-pickers will take about 25 tonnes of apples home with them.

While he has found a formula for where to go with his fruit, other fruit growers in the Djakovo region are cutting down their orchards – from the former 200 hectares, there are now less than 100 hectares, so fruit growers expect state aid programmes. Last year, with 20 million kuna each for apples and mandarins, state aid paid them grants to mitigate the damage caused by unharvested and unpicked fruit, so that it would not become a source of disease.

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