|▲ Dangseung Apple Farm / CEO Woobum Sim|
Talking about apple in South Korea, we must not miss Geochang County, North Gyeongsang Province, for succulent, crispiness and sweetness. Among many apple farms in the county, Dangseung Apple Farm, located 600 meter above sea level on Houm Mountain, comes into the center stage of attention from both suppliers and apple crunchers at the moment.
Walking up a path meandering through the woods to reach the farm, you will be rewarded for your effort with the blue sky and thick mountain ranges. Above all, you will be warmly greeted by CEO farmer of Dangseung Apple Farm Woobum Sim.
“Have you seen apple farmed this much higher?” was the greeting words from Sim. “Good apple needs good soil, right temperature and good climate. The soil in the county drains the rain smoothly which adds yet another perfect condition for apple to grow.”
The sugar content of apple in Dangseung Apple Farm is more than 14 Brix which are commonly recognized as the best among farmers. To make it easy to understand, a cider can we drink contains around 9 to 10 Brix.
But there is one more element to make Dangseung apple delicious: unlike other apple farmers who overdo the pruning in order to bring forward growth and development, Sim does it as minimum as possible.
“To be honest, I don’t do much works to grow my apple because nature does it instead of me. Nature grows and nature develops and that is the best apple we can get. In other words, I minimize any artificial treatments unless it is absolutely necessary.”
It might sound easy but he in fact does a lot of works behind nature because growing apple requires utmost attention to detail and care. Yet he does not take his work as work but as love and passion.
“Growing apple makes me happy. I sometimes feel like I’m a Taoist hermit blessed with wonders of the four seasons: flowers sing a song for me in the spring, forests send cool wind in the summer, leaves burning red and falling while my apple is ripen. Doesn’t that sound I’m like a Taoist hermit?”
A good tip to choose well ripened apple: As many of us think, red apple is not well ripened apple. Farmers deliberately make it red by removing the leaves to look like it; the apple with red and blue in good balance is good one.
In order to harvest the best apple possible, Sim never uses weedkiller. Farmers normally spray woodkiller four times a year which means 40 times in 10 years. We can easily imagine how painfully it affects the soil and eventually the trees living on it.
Instead, Sim is applying a far-infrared radiation cultivation system which checks harmful bacteria while helps activation of helpful bacteria. It also detoxes soil pollution and accelerates rooting of the tree.
For this reason, Dangseung apple gets out of stock even before the release of the harvest thanks to those who know its quality and value.
“It is quite encouraging for me that retailers call me at first hand before wholesalers to secure my apple in advance. I just feel happy that people recognize my apple and it is one of the driving forces of my apple loving and growing.”
When asked about future plan, Sim said that he was ambitious to find a channel to overseas market when things are ready.
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