Wild Mountain Cranberries from the Carpathians

Biotta wild mountain cranberries are harvested by hand in the Carpathian Mountains, far away from noise and stress. Clemens Rüttimann, managing director of Biotta, visited the farmers at home and was fascinated by their simple way of life.

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 find 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 for Biot­tas Wild Moun­tain Cran­berry juice­grow wild on sunny slopes and in dense forests. The en­tire area is cer­ti­fied 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.

Old huts bear witness to the long tradition of local agriculture.

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 peo­ple all around the world en­joy the juice made from their berries. They’ve heard of Switzer­land – and that the moun­tains there are even higher than their own.

Clemens Rüt­ti­mann, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Biotta, vis­ited the farm­ers dur­ing their har­vest to find 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 small mea­sure,” re­ports Rüt­ti­mann. “We are able in this way to pro­tect and sup­port an en­tire re­gion whose bio­di­ver­sity is vir­tu­ally un­matched and which is home so many peo­ple.” For Biot­ta’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, it was like en­ter­ing a new world, far away from the hec­tic of­fice rou­tine. Only the land­scape re­minded him “just a lit­tle of Ap­pen­zell”.

The berries are brought to col­lec­tion points, where they’re checked, weighed and paid for di­rectly. They are then frozen and brought to South Ty­rol via lorry, where the berries are 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.