All semi-dwarf and standard fruit trees that grow independently, in groves, in rows, or over larger areas are included in the term “orchard meadow” (Streuobstwiese). Lucke et al. (1992) provide the following defini-tion of the German term Streuobstwiese: “Primarily large trees of different ages, fruit types, and varieties that are ‘scattered’ throughout fields, meadows, and pastures at relatively irregular distances from one an-other.” This only includes standard-size fruit trees with a trunk height of at least 1.6 metres.
In 2020,a meadow orchard was created near Blumenau as part of a joint project with the LPV "Zschopautal/Flöhatal" e.V. with fiancial support from the Ingrid und Wolfgang Hoppe-Foundation- natural reserve.
The German term Streuobst, which translates directly as “scattered fruit” and from which Streuobstwiese (scattered orchard meadow) is derived, is a relatively new one. It came into use in the 1950s. Before then, people would simply refer to these trees as orchards. The land was people’s most precious possession. They needed to use every square metre to produce food. The use of standard-size fruit trees with high crowns enabled people to farm two levels of produce on the same piece of land. If the ground was used as a field or for pasture, the fruit trees provided vitamin-packed fruit to nourish the ground and animals.
It is worth noting that farmers planted fruit-tree varieties that grew well and produced reliable crops even in the harsh climate of the Erzgebirge. The varieties grown depended on what the fruits were ultimately used for. Rennet apples cultivars, such as Baumann’s Reinette and Rouge Etoilee, were particularly suited as dessert fruits. Belle de Boskoop and Royal Jubilee apples are used in baking, while the Rheinische Bohnap-fel cultivar is preferred for cider-making. In addition to this, fruit was dried and stored or preserved as jams and compotes. Nowadays, we can only buy six or seven types of apple from the supermarket, all produced by intensive farming. We can only dream of the range of different varieties that were once available.
When the fruits ripen in September and October, the nature park’s landscape conservation associations stage many orchard meadow-themed events. On 3 October every year, the Zschopau/Flöhatal Landscape Conservation Association hosts an apple day at Pobershau Nature Conservation Station. The exhibition of apples is attended by a pomologist – an apple expert. Visitors who bring in apples from their own fruit trees can ask the pomologist for advice on the cultivar, tree growth, and the potential uses of the fruit.
The Mulde-Flöha Landscape Conservation Association also hosts an annual exhibition of apple varieties in the Großwaltersdorf potato warehouse. There is enough space on the grounds to set up a mobile cider brewery. Fruit-tree owners who arrive with their car boots full of fruit leave with bag-in-box containers of juice instead.
A pipfruit trade fair takes place every year on 31 October at Riedelhof farm in Erlbach/Eubabrunn. Hundreds of different apple varieties are displayed in the restored four-sided courtyard, and a large range of pumpkins can be admired on the upper floor. Visitors swarm the apple merchant from Oelsnitz in the Erzgebirge – you don’t often get the chance to choose from at least 25 different apple varieties nowadays.
Why not visit one of the many events on offer? We’re sure you’ll be just as delighted as the organisers! For more information, visit: