Family farm Stjepan Tonković

24. July 2021. Nikola Vido

Sometimes war destroys that last shred of hope and life in a man. In this story, this was not the case. Although everything was destroyed, at first sight, ideas and willingness to work, live, and create could not be destroyed. And that is why we begin today’s story like this: “Place of action: Glina, time: post-war, goal: to realize dreams, motive: endless love for fruit, i.e. apples, hero: Stjepan Tonković”.

In 2001, Mr Stjepan bought the first land, and very quickly the second. He planted the first two hectares of apples, but the calculation was still unsatisfactory at the end of the summer. To make it satisfactory, he bought another half hectare of land and planted peaches and cherries on it.

Today, he grows cherries and peaches, but primarily apples, almost alone and he really enjoys it.

Family farm Stjepan Tonković - field

The family is always there to help, but the boss is easy to recognize by look and obligations. And there are many obligations on the farm.

So when October comes, and with it the harvest time, the working day lasts, the old people would say, from morning till tomorrow. But they don’t mind it, on the contrary, they find the greatest satisfaction in the harvest because the results of year-round work are finally visible and tangible.

And while men are forbidden to pick apples, women do it because Mr Stjepan says: “a woman’s hand is more delicate than a man’s“. This is important because an apple is a sensitive fruit. Rough touch and strong pressure a few days after harvest will result in stains, and we believe that neither I nor you will reach for a stained, but shiny apple in the store. To avoid stains, men perform heavier physical tasks.

Thanks to this task division, shiny apples of the following varieties are waiting for you at the market in Glina: Idared, Granny Smith, Jonagold and Cripps Pink. Cripps Pink of the Tonković family farm has won the county award for the best apple, so if you don’t get to the market, it’s worth visiting the family farm itself. There you will be greeted by friendly hosts, and we believe that not only apples will end up in your carrier bag. We could not resist peaches and cherries, so we believe you will not either.

Family farm Stjepan Tonković - VeeMee

Besides fruits, you will go home with a smiling heart. We laughed the most when Mr Stjepan told us a story he fondly remembers. In the pre-harvest period, during a visit to the orchard by third-year- students, the professor asked them “who knows what varieties of apples are in the orchard” and you guessed it – silence was the only answer they offered. Then Mr Tonković’s son, who was 10 at the time, taught the students every variety of apples. “You see, kid, you just need a little more to finish college,” said the professor. We bet students remember this even today!

Although Cripps Pink carries a gold medal around the stalk, Idared is still our favourite kind of apple! Why is that, (and Mr Stjepan points out that we are not the only ones), as a reason he stated that her position in the orchard lies on the sunniest side. We trust him because the sun also affects our mood, so how could not the taste of apples.

Due to the position in which the orchard is located – in solitude – the annual amounts of pesticide spraying have been significantly reduced, and some years, he tells us, pass without it. After harvesting, apples are stored in a natural warehouse and therefore have a different, special taste.

However, every story has a few "dark" elements, including this one. If you assumed that the factor of “darkness” was the COVID pandemic or the unfortunate circumstances that this whole area has recently faced, you are luckily wrong. Unfortunately, these circumstances are not under our control, but when we say; luckily; we mean that the problems that this family meets are solvable. We hope shortly as well.

The problem of the Tonković family farm is called frost. A frost protection system would, therefore, with safety nets and the irrigation system they already possess, be more than welcome.

However, these are not the only problems this orchard has encountered. Too much yield, a few years ago, resulted in throwing and trampling 50 tons of apples because the warehouse can only hold 30 tons, and there were not enough customers.

This second problem, we believe, will not happen again because even those who did not know about Tonković apples, now know! Our assumptions are therefore that the problem will soon become too small production and too much interest. And that is what we wish them from the bottom of our hearts!

Until the next reading,

Your VeeMee Advisor!

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