Biotta wild mountain cranberries are laboriously harvested by hand in the Carpathian Mountains, far away from noise, stress and high-pressure deadlines. Clemens Rüttimann, managing director of Biotta, visited the farmers at home and was fascinated by their simple way of life, secluded from the hectic pace of the world outside.
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.
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.