Apple farmers within the north of Italy are using herbal fridges carved beneath a hillside to keep their harvest in a managed environment that stays at a fix temperature in all seasons.

source:flickr

300 metres beneath their fruit orchards in Predaia, a small town in the Trentino region, the Melinda group has created 34 refrigeration areas in vast caves

source:flickr

Inside the refrigerated areas of the caves, the apples are saved in stacked up plastic boxes and moved around through people in safety helmets working fork-carry vehicles.

source:divisare

"On an environmental impact level, we have seen more advantages and returns," said Mauro Erlicher, manager of the underground plant.

"One of them is definitely in terms of energy levels, because from a test done last year...we measured a 32% saving of electricity in the cave."

"One of them is definitely in terms of energy levels, because from a test done last year...we measured a 32% saving of electricity in the cave."

The caves currently store around 30,000 tonnes of apples, a figure expected to increase to 40,000 tonnes in the near future.

source:Onapples

Before the caves can be used, the rocks are cooled with a gas to a depth of 5-7 metres (16.5-23 feet) which means they then maintain a constant temperature of 1 degree Celsius (34 Fahrenheit).

source:Onapples

"We were hesitant at first, then we realised that it works, because there is a good saving of energy, and it is very sustainable & econom