The Apples of Kozjansko Park
Recommended part of the culinary journey From the Alps to the Hills of Zagorje
Best time to visit: mid-April to mid-October
Duration: optional but no less than three to four hours, arrival in the morning hours
Carjevič, bobovec and krivopecelj are domestic apple varieties. Many a child would climb up a neighbour's apple tree to pick these delicious fruits. Kozjansko Park, whose head office is in Podsreda, preserves traditional and indigenous varieties of apples, pears and other fruits. Their orchards hold 150 old varieties of fruit, which they use for propagating organic saplings. Kozjansko Park provides training for fruit farmers, professional advice for pruning and planting, assistance in marketing produce and comprehensive professional support to orchard keepers. In addition, there is a bottling plant for juices.
The park also organises guided tours of meadow orchards, which serve as a habitat for a number of rare and endangered plant and animal species. The park's staff will accompany you by bus or on foot from Podsreda through the picturesque landscape to the orchards, where experts will guide you through the secrets of cultivating and nurturing fruit trees to a bountiful harvest.
Before visiting the orchards, you may choose to watch a 15-minute documentary film on the flurry of activities in the orchards throughout the year and visit the home of the carjevič apple.
An attraction of the orchards is the bee hotel for free-living solitary bees, the orchards’ most important pollinators. You will receive instructions on how to build a bee hotel and can also buy one for your garden or orchard.
A crucial component of the orchard are birds. You will be able to observe them more easily in their feeders and nesting places, which also help them survive. The Eurasian wrynek, yellowhammer, tree pipit, Eurasian blue tit, European green woodpecker and red-backed shrike are but a few of the bird species that can be seen and heard in the park. If you wish, the staff can organise for you to attend an early-morning birdsong concert with an explanation of which chirp belongs to which bird.
On your walk through the meadows and woods, you will discover a variety of flowering plants, including rare and protected orchids (in May and June), carnations and the Carniolan lily. Flowering plants change through the year, so it would be interesting to go on such a walk several times a season. Because the grass between the fruit trees is not mown completely, flowering plants can be observed throughout the year.
You may also try your hand at scything. If you succeed in scything a metre-long row, you will be awarded a hand-scything certificate. Scything can be a very bonding and gratifying experience.
In late summer and autumn, you will be able to try different fruits from the orchards. Cherries first, followed by different varieties of apple.
Under the shade of the apple trees, you will be able to sample juices made from different varieties of pesticide-free apples or an apple strudel snack.
Whilst there, you can place an order for tree saplings of the species and varieties grown at the park.
More information on the landscape park Kozjanski regijski park is available at http://www.kozjanski-park.si/
The hosts will be happy to cater to your needs and prepare other memorable experiences for your group. Your call and visit will be warmly received.
Information and reservation:
Javni zavod Kozjanski park
+386 (0)3 800 71 00