This is where the life cycle of a Pink Lady® apple begins.
Growers plants their apple trees during the winter, when plants cease to grow.
They must then wait 3 or 4 years for the trees to start producing fruit. This is the time needed for the branches to reach maturity with a sufficient reserve of nutrient to bear fruit.
02. Apple tree pruning
Trees go dormant between December and February. They have lost all their leaves, and entered their dormancy period. During that time, growers prepare them for the coming cycle. They prune any unnecessary branches to make sure they are evenly distributed and to give the tree vigour.
Pruning apple trees allows for the selection of the branches that will bear the largest fruit and to offer them maximum sunlight exposure.
This phase is extremely time-consuming and requires up to 150 hours of work, in other words, just as much as the harvesting phase.
Blossoming in the spring is key to a successful harvest in the autumn.
The lifespan of a flower ranges from 2 to 10 days. The pollination period is therefore very short.
Thanks to partnerships with beekeepers, growers introduce bees into the orchard during the blossoming period. They can thus guarantee a natural pollination process and the successful transformation of flower into fruit.
04. Selecting the flowers
The grower then selects the apple tree flowers with the best exposure to sunlight in order not to overburden the tree and obtain fruit with the right size and colour.
Summer is here. In order for Pink Lady® apples to develop all of their organoleptic properties.
They remove any damaged, deformed or excess fruits, so that the fruits may be evenly distributed across the tree and have enough space to grow.
07. Careful watering
During the fruit growth period, it is very important for the tree to be properly irrigated.
Thanks to data collected using ground sensors, the grower precisely adjusts the watering using a drip system in order to provide just the water and nutrients needed for the tree to grow harmoniously, without any waste.
08. Leaf stripping
At the end of the summer or beginning of autumn, the grower can also strip the tree of leaves by hand by delicately removing any excess foliage to guarantee that the apples get maximal sunlight.
The unique colour of Pink Lady® apples is entirely natural.
The colour of the fruit is directly linked to temperature variations between day and night. The cooler the nights and the sunnier the days, as early as September, as the harvest draws nearer, the more colourful the apple will be.
Harvested when ripe.
The Pink Lady® harvest is one of the latest. It begins between late October and early November.
The growers harvest their fruit by hand and in several phases to make sure they only select the ripest fruit. The rest will be picked in a later phase. The harvest thus lasts between 3 and 5 weeks.
To maintain good fruit quality, they are picked only during dry weather, starting at the bottom of the tree and moving upwards in order to prevent apples from being damaged by falling onto each other.
Each apple is lifted carefully with the palm of the hand, and tilted upward until it comes off without any damage being caused. The apple then comes off the branch with its stem, and is then gently placed in crates. All pickers are trained to this traditional picking technique.