Fruit from meadow orchards
at the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature & Geopark
Plant – cultivate – harvest. Fostering our unique meadow orchards means fostering the Nature Park and the entire region between Altenmarkt and Wildalpen together.
The first fruit farm of the Habsburg monarchy in Liezen existed more than 100 years ago. At the time, the farmer called Mr. Fuchs travelled all the way to the World Fair in Paris with 150 apples, about 40 pears, various cherries, apricots, plums and other varieties of fruit and even became World Champion with his Pfundapfel (“pound apple”). Many of these old varieties of fruit still account for the great diversity of fruit varieties and stocks in the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature & Geopark.
Back in 2007 and 2008, the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature Park and the Austrian Federal Foresets (Forstbetrieb Steiermark) made first efforts which included the documentation of 4800 regional trees and annual fruit variety determinations. From 2009 to 2012, a fruit-growing promotion project was carried out to establish cooperation between local farmers and meadow orchard owners. To date, a total of 120 varieties have been documented.
A fresh start for traditionally grown fruit
Fruit from meadow orchards has always been vital for the survival of the rural population, it has made the area more attractive for tourists and served as a habitat for native varieties. In recent years, however, the challenges to the protection and use of meadow orchards have intensified and they have become a threatened element of our landscape. With the start of the three-year project “Traditionally grown fruit at the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature & Geopark”, it should be possible to help this valuable resource of the region to gain new strength.
Protection through use
These unique meadow orchards are to be preserved for posterity through a wide range of activities. In cooperation with the Arche Noah Association, our meadow orchards are included in a digital fruit database. Ultimately, there will be information on each and every fruit tree (e.g. its variety, location, age, height). Furthermore, the varieties will be determined by the Arche Noah (“Noah’s Ark”) Association. Styrian Eisenwurzen gives home to some ancient and rare varieties. The determination of these varieties makes it easier to provide a clear definition and include them in the database. In order to preserve preservation these varieties, genetic conservation gardens have been established in Hopfgarten. You can even buy fruit trees for your own garden there and thus make your very own contribution to preserving them.
“Nature Park goes enterprise”
The slogan “Nature Park goes enterprise”, puts the Nature Park itself into the shoes of a central, entrepreneurial motor in the area of fruit trees. In the future, the Nature Park will play an active role in the entire life and production cycle, from renewal, maintenance, harvesting, processing and distribution to the marketing of the fruit and products resulting from it. This can create jobs, open up new opportunities for cooperation and added value – and thus, support the regional economy.
Supported by the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, the Province of Styria and the European Union(LEADER).
Variety garden with fruit from meadow orchards
Two orchards in the Hopfgarten district of the Wildalpen Nature Park Community are used to preserve old and rare fruit varieties (mainly apples and pears) from the Styrian Eisenwurzen Nature & Geopark. In cooperation with the Austrian Federal Forestry Company (Österr. Bundesforsten AG, Forstbetrieb Steiermark), the Nature Park has set the goal of preserving the various varieties here in Wildalpen for future generations. Further information on the varieties is available on site. The freely accessible orchards are also ideal for a walk from the village centre of Wildalpen. Open your eyes – you can spot orchards everywhere along the way.