Moscow, May 16, 2017
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.
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.