First and only apple to receive the AOC status (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) in France, Limousin Apple is grown on only four French central and western local areas (Corrèze, Creuse, Nord-Dordogne and Haute Vienne). Orchard land spreads over 3300 hectares, which are worked by 320 apple growers. Each year, 5000 workers pick up 100 000 tones of apples eligible for AOP status.
If Limousin Apple is so important to the regional economic life nowadays, orchards have there a long history. The first apple trees hailing from the Middle East were planted in the Limousine Region by the Romans, during Antiquity. On the well-drained plateaus of Haut-Limousin, they flourished in such a way that Limousin apples can be found in some 18th-century writings.
In the 1950s, the first Golden Apples were imported from the United States, prospering from the Limousin’s fertile soil and fashioning its own unique taste qualities, kept amazingly steady during storage.
In 2005, these unique features helped the Limousin Apple with receiving AOC status. In 2007, the AOC Limousin Apple went European, earning the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) label.
This label’s specifications have been carefully calibrated to each stage of the growing process, from the orchards to the fruit plantations. A production zone has been carved out across some one hundred towns, based on altitude (300 to 500 m) and geology (crystal foundation) criteria. The four fruit cooperatives (storage and sorting) and the 320 tree-growers possess a real know-how providing the best quality for their produce. That is why the Golden variety, daughter of the Limousin, can also claim to a unique crunch and juiciness, its sweetness delicately balanced with tang. Limousin apple is perfect to cook and serve all along the meal: with white meat or poultry, in pie, stewed, or simply alone to enjoy its freshness and its crunchiness.
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Pictures: Photothèque Pommes du Limousin AOP