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If you are attending or watching this week's negotiations in Bonn for the universal climate change agreement that will be concluded in Paris at the end of the year, you may have noticed a bright red apple sitting on the podium with an unusual quality - it has a picture of the Paris COP 21 logo grown into it.

The apple sits next to Daniel Reifsnyder (USA) and Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria), the CO-Chairs of the "Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" (ADP), the body tasked with reaching the agreement. These special apples will be handed out to senior representatives of each country in Paris  at the UN Climate Change Conference in France.

Each of the 196 apples – one for every country Party plus the European Union as a Party – has the COP21 logo, branded onto the skin of the fruit with a sticker that allows it to still grow perfectly naturally, just like the one in the picture below.



Our reporters Johanna Schmeller and James Dowson went to see how the the apples were grown, on a farm near the French town of Metz. Right now, they are stored in a temperate freezer cabinet in a well-kept cottage surrounded by fairytale gardens.


The entrance to Les Jardins fruitiers de Laquenexy

The manager of “Les Jardins Fruitiers de Laquenexy“, Pascal Garbe, gives visitors a warm welcome in a restaurant next to the farm’s shop.

Plum jam with walnuts, pear jelly with cardamom, apple syrups, flavored nut oils or stewed rhubarb spiced up with ginger preserve a long summer’s memories for winter. The air is filled with the scents of regional fruits and autumn spices.


Farm manager Pascal Garbe

It has been 10 years that Pascal has worked for “Les Jardins Fruitiers de Laquenexy”. His first contact with the UN dates from the same period. “We were involved in the Convention on Biological Diversity's COP 10 in Japan”, Pascal remembers.

“The farm delivered illustrated apples to delegations in Nagoya, Japan. Daniel Reifsnyder and Ahmed Djoghlaf asked if we could again produce some illustrated apples, this time for UNFCCC's COP 21, given that the meeting is in France.”

There are only three orchards worldwide that produce this kind of apple - two in France and one in Japan. “Several farms can produce illustrated apples with laser – but our technique is absolutely natural”, Pascal explains. 

“When the apples are as small as a cherry, we put them in a bag - and the apple will grow white,” he says. This is done at the end of June. At the beginning of September, Pascal’s colleagues take off the bag and put a little sticker on the apple. Then, they let nature take over: “Natural light and temperatures let apples grow red. It takes six days to have a ‘normal’ apple. Afterwards, we pick the apple, we check if the design is okay, and we put it in the fridge.”


You can get unbranded apples from Les Jardins fruitiers de Laquenexy, too!

It is also Pascal who will deliver the illustrated apples in Paris, where they will be handed over to the delegates. Three will be sent along as a reserve – if someone should accidentally drop his or her fruit.

On the trip from Metz to Paris, Pascal and his assistants intend to keep a close eye on them. “For the journey, each apple will be put in an individual box, which will go into bigger boxes,” he explains.

See the video of how the apples ripen:



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