PREDAIA, Italy, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Apple farmers in the north of Italy are using natural refrigerators carved under a hillside to store their harvest in a controlled environment that remains at a constant temperature in all seasons. Three hundred metres beneath their fruit orchards in Predaia, a small town in the Trentino region, the Melinda group has created 34 refrigeration areas in vast caves, where they are able to keep 12-13% of their produce and cut their energy costs.

“One of them is definitely in terms of energy levels, because from a test done last year…we measured a 32% saving of electricity in the cave.” The caves currently store around 30,000 tonnes of apples, a figure expected to increase to 40,000 tonnes in the near future.


Image courtesy REUTERS/Matteo Berlenga

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