Monks of northern Russian Valaam Monastery growing pineapples

Moscow, May 16, 2017

Photo: valaam.ru Photo: valaam.ru
    

The brethren of the Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery on Valaam Island in northern Russia have begun growing pineapples, a fruit quite exotic for Russia, reports the monastery’s site.

The monastery’s work with pineapples began two years ago when the brethren were given pineapples as a gift from a pilgrim. The monks decided to plant a pair of the foreign fruit in their greenhouse in the Valaam Island Upper Garden. Now, two years later, the first bright yellow pineapples, presumably Columbian, have appeared.

Besides the pineapples, the usual vegetables and herbs are also grown on the island: cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, dill, and onions.

Photo: valaam.ru Photo: valaam.ru
“The most important thing is to understand that your obedience in the greenhouse is for the consolation of all the brethren,” feeding them throughout the winter, stated Novice Iliya Beketov, the head of the monastery’s greenhouses.

Monastic gardening appeared on Valaam in 1810 with the planting of the Upper Garden. Two other gardens appeared also in 1856 and 1860. In 1869, the Valaam gardens consisted of up to 400 apple trees of 60 varieties. The brethren also cultivated pears, plums, gooseberries, currants, raspberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins.

Much in the Valaam nurseries was destroyed to the desolation of 1940-1989. Qualified care for the gardens recommenced only in 1996.

Valaam has also increased its amount of farm-raised trout in response to the recent anti-Russian sanctions, patented its own cheese brand, and gathered its first grain harvest since 1939 last year.

5/16/2017

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