For 15 years Michele Vivan has been growing apples in an area with a long tradition in vine-growing. Over the years, his ten hectares of orchards gave him lots of satisfaction, after so much sweat and toil.
Over the last 15 years, somehow against the mainstream, he fully devoted himself to fruit cultivation in an area where the Italian vine-growing sector has deep roots, between the Alps and the sea, between the river Tagliamento and the stream Meduna: the Friuli of renowned wineries. In particular, he focused on apples. 38-year-old Michele Vivan‘s words are as straightforward as his character: “This part of Friuli is a huge farmland where it is rather common to grow up in a farming family. But we are a rarity: there are many vineyards, but very few orchards.”
Well then, Michele, what has driven you to start this business?
Chance, in some ways. In the year 2000 my father and I took over 10 hectares of land that were already grown with fruit trees and that we completely renovated over the last 15 years. He was really fond of the land, while I just had a preference for orchards: no tree is like another, their growth is complex, you must study and prepare yourself in advance for what is going to happen tomorrow. Just think about the work that has to be done on buds to let fruit grow. It is a much more exciting job and this was our great challenge.
And what have you done in these years?
It was a real revolution for us, since we lacked technical and experience and specific knowledge. Here there are many wine experts: it is part of our DNA, we know how to make it and, above all, how to make good wine. Conversely, there is little interest in fruit, we are not in Trentino or Romagna. We were lucky enough to receive the support of Granfrutta Zani and his expert, who has been following us for many years. I love agriculture because it offers endless possibilities, although difficulties and unforeseen events are always just around the corner.
I’m guessing it was not all rosy.
Rural life is not like many imagine it: you have to work hard and especially the very first years were not easy at all. Later on, the first achievements arrived and gradually we got used to tough work. But it’s important to be on the lookout and keep up with all the developments: you need to be updated on the latest plant care products and on new varieties to be always competitive. And you must invest time and money even when you would like to avoid it. We never stop, in a few words we would need 48 hours in a day to carry out all the work.
In conclusion, in your opinion what do you need to grow a good product?
You have to love and respect nature, without demanding more than what it can offer you. We are never satisfied, we struggle to do more, but we have to learn to follow the rules of the land, as we used to do in the past. We grow excellent products that are our pride: not only Pink Lady apples, but also other very strong varieties that, in my opinion, are the future: they are sold at very affordable prices and require less treatments compared to other varieties. All these features are really advantageous for consumers. We just have to invest in them and make them better known to consumers, because they are really excellent products.