Biotta wild mountain cranberries are laboriously harvested by hand in the Carpathian Mountains, far away from noise, stress and pressurising deadlines. Clemens Rüttimann, managing director of Biotta, visited the farmers at home and was fascinated by their simple way of life, far away from all hustle and bustle.
Every day during the summer, Maria gets up at 6 am, picks up her berry comb and goes out to the Carpathian Mountains to pick wild mountain cranberries. She doesn’t need an alarm clock – her inner clock ticks in time with nature, and she can rely on it fully, she says.
„This is my home here. No other meadows or woods have such an intense scent: the moss, the trees, the soil. I don’t think you’ll fi nd such views anywhere else in the world.“
Maria has never left her home region, nor has she any intention of ever doing so. “I’ve got everything I need here to be happy,” she says proudly. The Carpathian Mountains, one of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes, are situated in the heart of Romania. It’s the largest continuous forest area on the continent of Europe, and boasts high mountains, wide valleys and lush meadows. This is where the mountain cranberries grow for Biotta’s Wild Mountain Cranberry juice. Not like conventional cranberries, in huge plantations, but in the wild – on sunny slopes and in dense forests. The entire area is certifi ed organic. Nature is trusted here, and is allowed to run her course. Fertilisers and pesticides are completely taboo. The region is so extensive that it would be impossible to cultivate it all systematically. And that’s what makes it so ideal. You leave nature to herself – and are delighted when you can reap a good harvest.
Harvest time is from August to September. The small berries are harvested using wooden berry combs, and then sorted by hand. This method is gentle on the berries, and guarantees premium quality. For many families here, harvest time is a reliable opportunity to increase their income. And they’re proud of the fact that the juice made from their berries is drunk in lots of countries all around the world. They’ve heard of Switzerland – and heard that the mountains there are higher.
Clemens Rüttimann, managing director of Biotta, visited the farmers during their harvest to fi nd out more about their way of life and how much the berries mean to them.
„It ’s fascinating to see how important harvest time is here. I’m particularly proud of the fact that we’re able to contribute to this in a small measure“, reports Clemens Rüttimann. “Whilst many manufacturers rely on cranberries from overseas, we protect and support the entire region. The biodiversity here is hard to beat, and it’s also home to lots of people.” For Rüttimann, it was like entering a new world, far away from the hectic of offi ce life. Only the landscape reminded him “just a little of Appenzell”.
The berries are brought to collection points. Here, they’re checked, weighed and paid for directly. The berries are then frozen and brought to South Tyrol via lorry, where they’re gently pressed to release their natural juices. Immediately after this, the juice is brought to the production site at Tägerwilen (TG). Once it arrives here, it’s blended with tea extract and a little agave syrup, and filled into Biotta bottles. All the goodness of nature in a bottle.