During winter, apple trees are dormant, covered by a mantle of snow that protects them from the effects of extreme winter temperatures.
In this period, pruning activities are carried out in order to foster the growth of new fruiting buds and correct the way the tree is growing. Pruning is also important as it allows the trees to achieve a vegetative and productive equilibrium, thus preventing premature ageing of the trees.
When the weather becomes milder, the apple trees begin to reawaken and the first flower buds start to open up. During spring, new apple trees are planted to obtain varietal renewal and to renew the old orchards that are no longer sufficiently productive.
The flower buds gradually open up to full bloom, usually in April, and this is the most important moment for a good harvest. In fact, during pollination, pollinators − among which bees − are fundamental to guarantee the transfer of pollen from one flower to another. Therefore, as soon as the first flowers open up, bee hives are placed in the orchards until the apple trees stop flowering.
The fruit set is the first stage of the formation of the apples, which week after week increase in size until they are harvested. In order to obtain quality apples farmers thin out the fruitlets to rebalance the fruit load for each tree.
During the summer, the apples grow bigger and continue to follow the ripening process, increasing their sugar content and gradually decreasing the acidity and hardness of their flesh.
As harvest time approaches, the apples acquire their best colour thanks to the day-night temperature swing, which is typical of mountain areas. Farmers comply with the harvest dates and times indicated by the local technical service and manually harvest the apples, delivering them directly to the cooperative, where they are stored until sold.