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Agritourism in Batu, East Java

It was around 10 a.m. when I arrived at the Kusuma Agrowisata agritourism enterprise in the small town of Batu, East Java, on a day in late June. The sun was already high in the sky but the weather was still rather cold and windy, thanks to the town's location at an altitude of some 1,000 meters above sea level. Located about 20 kilometers to the west of Malang and about 95 kilometers from East Java's capital, Surabaya, Batu is famous for its widespread apple farms that stretch as far as the eye can see. As the story goes, the first apple tree was planted by a Dutchman in 1908, when Indonesia was still ruled by the European kingdom. In another version of Batu's “origin story”, the first apple orchards were planted in the town by a young man who came across an apple tree upon climbing the nearby Mt. Butak. The man had been dared to climb the mountain by the girl of his dreams. He then brought some of the fruit back home with him to prove his love for the girl. Nowadays, Batu is popular as Indonesia's “Apple Town” and Kusuma Agrowisata is a nice way to experience the town's apple-farming culture. Established in 1991, Kusuma claims to be one of the pioneers of the agritourism industry in Indonesia and the only agritourism site with a hotel in the country. Kusuma's 14.8-hectare fruit gardens may seem to be a little small at first glance, especially when compared to the 264-hectare Mekarsari Botanical Park in Bogor, West Java. It was also a little disappointing that Kusuma's farms only offered four types of fruit during my visit: apple, guava, orange and strawberry. It has a small dragon fruit garden, but the fruit is only harvested once a year, on November and December. However, when I set my foot inside the guava garden at the start of my trip, I immediately realized Kusuma's main selling point. While picking fruit and talking with the park guide who accompanied me, I could not stop marveling at the breathtaking views of the majestic mountains that surround Batu, including Mt. Arjuno and Mt. Welirang. Although the gardens themselves may offer little special, the place is still a heaven for snap-happy travelers due to its fascinating vistas all around. In line with the city's nickname, the apple orchard is Kusuma's largest garden, measuring 8.1 hectares. "There are four types of apples in Kusuma Agrowisata: Malang's Roombeauty, Batu's Manalagi, and China's Wanglin, all of which taste sweet, as well as the sour-tasting Jonathan Ana from Israel,” tour guide Anas, 18, told me. According to the Batu native, apple trees have a 3.5-year growing period before they can be harvested for the first time. “After the first harvest, the growing period will be shortened and we can harvest the fruit every six months,” he added. Growing apples is not that easy, Anas says. After a harvesting period, which usually lasts for one week, some three inches at the ends of the trees' branches will have to be cut off. The leaves and flowers will usually be back in a month, after which they will be cut again until the trees are completely bare. The flowers will then grow again in one month and fertilizers are added to the soil around the trees at this time to make them stronger. Visitors can eat as many apples as they wish at Kusuma Agrowisata, but they are only allowed to bring two free apples back home. If they wish to take more as gifts, they will have to buy the apples at prices between Rp 5,000 (US 50 cents) to Rp 25,000 per kilogram – the Roombeauty being the most expensive. Apart from apples, visitors can also bring home guavas, strawberries, and oranges. Kusuma has two strawberry types, Australia's Sweet Charlie and local sour-tasting Rosalinda, as well as three orange breeds: Baby Java, Valencia and Keprok (Citrus Reticulata). Kusuma also serves fruit juice and dried fruit chips. However, these two products are not made from fruit grown in Kusuma's garden, as the supply is insufficient. Instead, they are made from fruit grown by local farmers, especially in the nearby Junggo village. Kusuma Agrowisata opens from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. The starting price for an apple agritour is Rp 55,000, which include picking two apple and guavas. Kusuma also has plans to establish a garden for Thai Monthong durian in the near future.
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@rogue58 haha yes, because I love that picture the most ;))
oranges not apples !
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