Indian Bananas and Mongolian Blueberries Growing in Virje

Lauren Simmonds

virje bananas

May the 26th, 2024 – Grape vines and corn aren’t the only things growing on slopes of Virje. Exotic fruits have also taken to the area. Fancy some Virje bananas?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, you might not associate the likes of Indian bananas or Mongolian blueberries with the steep slopes and dramatic valleys of Croatia, but perhaps its time you do. The landscape around Podravina has some new, exotic fruity residents.

“If I can’t grow regular bananas, I’ll grow Indian ones! The Podravina climate also suits them, and for several years now they’ve done very well during the autumn months. They don’t need to be protected from pests, also making them ecological. You practically eat it like you would a classic banana, you have to open it and eat the pulp, which is like a pudding, with the aroma of an exotic fruit somewhere between pineapple and papaya, mango, depending on the variety. It has a very nice sweet taste,” said Ivan Đurišević who is growing these exotic fruits on the slopes of Virje.

While the Indian bananas are progressing well in their new home in Podravina, the Đurišević family is also busy picking their Mongolian blueberries.

They taste like aronia, but they’re a bit sweeter and juicier. They’re to be eaten fresh or mixed with creamy honey for new exotic flavours,” he said. In addition to his orchard, young green-fingered Ivan Đurišević also has his own bees. And they process the fruit – by lyophilisation.

“It’s done according to the principle that the fruit freezes first, ice crystals are extracted with the help of a vacuum pump, and the berry remains as it was picked from the fruit tree. In terms of its nutrients, they remain at 98 percent,” Đurišević revealed to HRT.

Although his products don’t have an official certificate, his working principle is totally ecological.

“Ivan’s guiding thought from the beginning was that one day when he had a child, they’d be able to wander through the orchard and eat the fruits freely. And this is exactly what’s happening now, and I think that’s the greatest reward for his work,” said Iva Gregurić-Đurišević from Virje.

Their two-year-old daughter isn’t quite old enough to help in the vineyard yet, but the Đurišević family has wider family support. None of them are farmers or fruit growers, but they unanimously support ecological and exotic agriculture and are doing very well in that regard.


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