By Aygul Salmanova
In which region of Azerbaijan the most delicious apples with fascinating floral fragrance, juicy pulp, fresh and pleasant taste grow? Of course in Guba.
The northern-western region of the country has always been known as the region where the best apples of the country are grown. It accounts not only for the largest number, but also for the greatest variety of sorts.
Thanks to suitable soil and climatic conditions, apple trees grow beautifully here, and their fruits have many valuable qualities and can be stored for a long time.
There are more than 22,000 hectares of gardens in the Guba-Khachmaz zone, some 13,062 hectares of which fall on the share of Guba region.
This year, some 120,757 tons of apple crops have been harvested from Guba's orchard, about 65-70 percent of which, namely, some 80,000 tonnes are intended for export to foreign countries. So far, 40,000 tons of apples have been exported to foreign markets.
Approximately 30-35 percent of apples grown in Guba is on sale in the country's markets, the Guba Regional Agriculture Department reports. Markets of Russia, the world's largest importer, are at the forefront of the volume of goods shipped abroad.
Refrigerated warehouses created in the region are of great importance in maintaining the imports sent abroad. About 90 percent of the exported apple harvest is first collected in refrigerated warehouses in the region and then sent to overseas countries, according to Guba Regional Agriculture Department.
A number of steps have been taken to develop intensive gardening in Guba-Khachmaz region. In recent years, the area of superintensive fruit gardens has reached 1,024 hectares, including 670 hectares of apples.
Most of the superintensive fruit gardens are irrigated by droplets. The farmers say that the varieties grown in these gardens are 3-4 times more productive than conventional apple gardens. Thus, 20-25 tons of crops are harvested from each hectare of traditional gardens, while in intensive gardening this figure varies between 60 and 70 tons.
It should be noted that 238 hectares of new fruit trees have been planted in Guba region in 2017, of which 170 hectares of apple orchards.
Guba’s most famous kind of apple is the “White Apple” (Ag alma). One cannot satisfy his/her hunger trying this yellow, fragrant and red cheeked fruit. Azerbaijanis are so proud of this kind of apple that they wrote a song for it called “Guba’s White Apple”. And it is not surprisingly when you think that one-third of them are involved in the apple harvesting in some capacity.
However, the queen of apples in Azerbaijan is the “Gizilakhmad” variety. People who bite into these apples for the first time just cannot stop.
These delicious treats are small in size, but are very sweet and juicy, and pack a healthy punch. Due to the high concentration of iron, these red apples are invaluable for children, pregnant women, and those suffering from iron deficiencies.
Apple fans – the fruit not the phone – should visit the Apple festival celebrated annually in Guba every October. Not just the trees, but the entire town also turns red and gold, as everything is painted in the colors of fresh apples. This festival attracts both locals and foreign tourists. So go, pick some sweet flavored apples in Guba this autumn.
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