By train: Ferrovia Trento – Malè, line coach
Our land, set at high altitudes amongst mountain peaks, is not as fortunate as others in terms of fruit and vegetable growing. The climate is harsh, the farming land is almost always steep. However, our land is no mean: beside the vineyards – especially widespread along the river Adige sides and producing famous wines as well as respectable spumanti (sparkling wines) - the Val di Nòn slopes are thick with thousands of orchards. During the Middle Ages, this area was known as the region’s granary, which was due to the skills and genius of its inhabitants. In the fields, by the mulberry-trees and the vines, were already flourishing apple and pear trees, as well as quince trees and medlar trees. As late as in the early 18th Century, this area was famous in Vienna for its fruit output, while, towards the end of the same Century, Napoleon himself could enjoy the apples that a valley’s nobleman had offered him.
Today Val di Nòn is a huge orchard; three sorts of apples are mainly grown by local farmers as well as by those in Lower Val di Sole: the Canadian Queen-Apple, Golden Delicious e Red Delicious. The fruit is processed and marketed through modern facilities, partly directed towards the export markets. You do not need to go a long way to have an overview of the local fruit-growing activities or to taste the savour of their output “MondoMelinda”, at Segno, is a sort of Mecca of Doc apples. The visit is not only intended as an occasion for sampling food. Instead, it is an occasion to introduce beginners into the world of co-operative work, that in the Bleggio area (western Trentino) was introduced as early as in 1890, to further expand across the whole province of Trento. Co-operatives gave very positive results, as they helped to overcome misery and to contain emigration from these lands.
Our territory has also a proven, longstanding tradition in another area, namely in cattle growing and dairy production. These activities used to be the main source of living – along with sylviculture and agriculture – for the inhabitants of Val di Sole and Upper Val di Nòn. There are certainly fewer cowsheds today than there used to be, but there are several thousands cattle. Their milk is used to make genuine products, such as butter and cheese, that still contribute to the Valley’s economy. Though some small “caseifici turnari” (cheese making factories with a typical shift organisation) are still operating in the Valley, as they used to do in the past, most of the dairy production is concentrated in two modernly equipped, efficient facilities: the Caseificio Presanella in Mezzana ant he Caseificio Cércen in Terzolàs. A visit to each of them might be an instructive and tasty occasion to know about dairy tech.