Being Environmentally Friendly producers
FOSTERING BIODIVERSITY IN THE ORCHARD
• Performing agro-environmental analysis of the orchards:
identifying and describing the natural environment in order to better manage and protect it (hedges, grassy bands, ditches, etc.).
• Developing beneficial organisms, pollinating insects and planting multi-species hedges (3.9 km have been created and 12.5 km protected and safeguarded).
• Respect for pollinating insects
(domestic and wild bees, wasps, etc.): using bee-friendly products during flowering, providing water for the hives, etc.
• Since 2010, installation of shelters for beneficial insects and bats dispersed throughout our production area (programme of the Hérault County Council).
• Installation in our orchards of birdhouses for blue tits (insectivore birds): 160 in 2016. From the nest-making phase until the baby birds take flight, one couple can eat up to 10,000 insects.
GIVING PRIORITY TO ORGANIC METHODS
• 100% of our producers use biocontrol products (certified organic)
for pest control. For example: Carpovirusine, B. thuringiensis, beneficial nematodes, etc.
• 100% of our producers give priority to using beneficial organisms for pest control: ladybugs and other beneficial organisms against aphids, predatory mites against red mites.
• Generalised use of mating disruption as a means of protection against worms: pheromone dispensers are hung from the trees to disorient the male moths so that they cannot find the females. Without mating, there are no larvae, so no worms in the apples!
APPLYING SUSTAINABLE ORCHARD MANAGEMENT
• All of our producers use a set of tools to limit phytosanitary treatments:
observation in the orchard of parasites and fungus and respect for the treatment thresholds according to the presence of beneficial insects; warnings, organic models and insect traps.
• Internal training of the producers in environmentally friendly farming practices: 2 weeks of training per year, for 30 producers.
• 10 weather stations to provide information for predictive outbreak models (scab fungus, codling moth) and to run the irrigation system, are distributed across the entire production area.
• Benchmark plots are equipped with sensors in the soil to measure water availability.
Other sensors measure branch diameter variations, in order to detect water stress. These sensors make it possible to use sustainable irrigation practices in the orchards of the relevant members.
• 100% of our producers manage fertilisation on the basis of soil, leaf and twig analysis.
• In-depth monitoring of nitrogen in the ground using Nitrachek, to adjust the applied quantities to the needs of the trees; and split application of nitrogen fertiliser, in order to avoid losses being discharged to the environment (leaching).
• Development of mechanical weeding, which already represents 50 hectares (increasing sharply).
PICKING THE APPLES BY HAND AT OPTIMAL RIPENESS
• A systematic fruit ripeness analysis
is carried out in each plot in order to pick the fruit at optimal ripeness, when the aromas are developed.
• Only the ripe fruit is harvested, in several passes (up to 7 passes for Reine des Reinettes®).
GUARANTEEING TRACEABILITY FROM THE ORCHARD TO THE SHELF
• Every batch of fruit is identified from the orchard to the packaging.
Strict traceability indicates the origin of each batch sold and its technical itinerary.
HAVING COMPLIANCE WITH THESE GOOD PRACTICES AUDITED BY AN EXTERNAL, INDEPENDENT ORGANISATION
• Other specifications are certified in order to meet the expectations of the different markets: GlobalGap, Florette, Tesco Nurture, Albert Heijn, EQC, Leaf, Agriculture Biologique, etc.
BEING OPEN TO SOCIETY: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
• Every year, several producers open their farms to the public
during open orchard days or school visits.
• Participation in the “Bassin Versant de l’Etang de l’Or” programme.