Service tree fruits (Sorbus domestica) known in Czech as Oskeruše are small rounded fruits mainly growing in South Moravia in the village of Straznice, located in the South Eastern part of Czech Republic on the border with Slovakia. Yellow and red in color, the fruits ripen in September and October and are ready to be eaten when dark red or brown. They are traditionally dried or used to make preserves, schnapps and liqueurs; they are very aromatic and good to help digestion. The area hosts more than twelve different varieties that vary in shape and taste, and the White Carpathians area (Bílé Karpaty in Czech) is home to some of the oldest service trees, which have been there for more than 300 years. On Zerotin hill, in Czech Moravia, there is a 400 year-old tree called “Adamec’s tree”, with a 465 cm diameter. Despite the age, these trees are very fertile, producing roughly 1 ton each per year. When in season, service tree fruits and its by-products are sold during festivals in the villages around Straznice especially in Tvarožná Lhota, on the Czech – Slovak border, but are mostly used for home consumption. Oskeruše is very important for the local community, evidence is shown by the presence of a museum that protects the history of the trees and its fruits. However, ancient trees are dying and knowledge on how to plant new ones and use the fruit is being lost. As the trees require a specific time for the stratification of seeds, there is a problem with self-reproduction in the area, and people are thinking of creating a net of ancient trees across the country.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.