Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Pavle Svaic and I am the founder of Agropošta cordials. For the next couple weeks, I would like to give you some insight in our processes by writing a diary. I hope you this way you will get to know us, the people behind Agropošta and the what brand is about. We are in the process of certifiying our Sage, Lavender and elderflower cordials, so if everything goes well, we will be able to have this in the market in about 6 weeks.
What does this entail?
Licensees and organic certification
In our picking calendar Sage flower is the first plant we pick each year and this year we decided to certify it as organic so I will try to give you a glimpse of the process.
47 % of Croatia’s land mass is covered in forests and 80 % of forests in Croatia are government owned and run by a government company Hrvatske šume (Croatias forests). Croatia has a long history of running sustainable forests that are very well kept and documented so this puts us among the best in the EU.
First, we find a spot where the plant we want to pick is plentiful, is far away from roads and settlements, agriculture land or other pollutants and is run by Croatia’s forests.
Then we file a request to pick a certain plant in a certain area, we also file request to check whether that area has been treated with anything in the past so it can in the end be certified as organic.
Then we are issued a permit and given a contract that says where we can pick, what we can pick, when and what amount. Part of the contract is the maps of the areas with marked spots where we can do the picking. See picture.
When we want to start, we contact the local Forestry and send them a list of the pickers that will be picking there. They provide us with a person that will supervise the picking process and provide us with a paper that a certain plant has been picked at a certain area at certain time. And that is crucial for later certification.
Usually we apply for multiple positions so we can disperse the risk of bad weather or make our season for picking longer by picking at different altitudes at different dates.
All pickers that pick in Croatian forests must be educated on good practice of picking so our plant life could stay sustainable.
Some of the principles of good practice of picking:
- Pick only where the plant is plentiful
- Never pick more than 30% of the foliage
- Pick only what you will use
- Make clean cuts
- Never leave anything in the forest
After we finish the picking, all the quantities that have been picked are added up and we receive a bill to pay for the forest produce we have picked