With 8,000 hectares of orchards containing 3 million apple trees: Pommeau de Normandie follows the rhythm of the ecosystems.
At a time of climate emergency, these millions of trees act as excellent captors of greenhouse gases
Some estimate that the carbon sequestration in a cider apple orchard is in the range of 35 to 50 tonnes of carbon/hectare over a 25-year period.
The wide diversity of fruit varieties also ensures the sustainability of the harvests and a high resistance to climate variations.
Orchards also offer benefits in terms of creating habitats for living organisms. Their horizontal and vertical structure provides a diversity of habitats and resources to encourage biodiversity: shelter in winter, reproduction, food.
The apples are grown in the heart of the Normandy bocage, and several species of birds, notably tits, thrive here. These birds actively contribute to the natural predation of certain pests.
Observation centres also show that there is a greater presence of earthworms in an orchard than there is in a vineyard, for example, due in particular to the grassing of most of the plots. The soils are therefore richer and better able to absorb the rainfall.
Pollination is also fundamental to the orchards’ production mechanics. The apple tree cannot pollinate itself and each orchard must therefore rely on bees and other pollinating insects to ensure the long-term viability of its fruit harvest.
In spring, during the flowering period, the Normandy orchards are literally buzzing with activity!
The orchards’ ability to provide habitats for pollinators is estimated to be 4 times greater than that of field crops, particularly cereals.
In terms of water usage, irrigation is prohibited in the orchards and the water consumed in the making of Pommeau de Normandie remains fairly low.
A large volume of water is used for the washing of the fruit, but this is very often in a closed circuit.
Lastly, orchards have various advantages when it comes to preserving the soil and combatting erosion: strong, durable root systems that enable a good fixation of the soil, permanent grass cover in the rows and inter-row areas, little ploughing of the soil, etc.
In France, water erosion is responsible for the loss of 1.5 tonnes / hectare of soil each year.
Whether certified organic or not, Pommeau de Normandie production ensures a low level of phytosanitary product use with mixed farming ensuring that natural fertilisation takes place, thanks notably to the presence of livestock.
The amount of lost fruit is relatively low throughout the production chain: it is estimated to be less than 5%. The producers are not bothered about the aesthetics of the fruit (in terms of its shape, colour or conformity) and phytosanitary products are therefore not needed to control these features.
Lastly, the processing of apples and pears produces many by-products including pectins, animal feed, fertilisers or anaerobic digestion.