Third day of Sage picking

10th of May 2017 First day Sage picking 2017
Trtar hill middle Dalmatia.
Altitude 450 m.

Third day – clear weather with high visibility, sunny, light wind that changes direction

The plant used nice weather to hurry up with flowering and accomplish her duty to propagate. The flower uses the smell to attract the bugs to pollinate the flowers and as an incentive the plant gives the bugs its nectar and flower powder (carbohydrates and protein) and bugs pollination produces a fruit with the seed that assures further propagation.

As visibility is perfect it is amazing to stand that high and see how nature can sculpture the terrain with river canyons, fields and plains, mountains and islands. Feels so special to pick at such a spot.

Today we hat record yield of 200 kg of flowers. Sage flowers are open and mostly pollinated so the plant smell intensity starts to weaken and the harvest is finished on Trtar hill for this year. We have picked a total of 400 kg of sage flowers and the best thing is that the whole hill is still purple with sage flowers and you cannot see that someone has been here.

Second day of Sage picking

9th of May 2017 First day Sage picking 2017

Trtar hill middle Dalmatia.

Altitude 450 m.

Sage just needed a little water to show its power and endurance as it prospers where other plants don’t. As we pick it, it is full of resin and sticks heavily to the fingers it releases complex smell of sage, mint, pine, honey, fruit and meadow flowers…we need to get these fragrances into our juice that surprises each time.

One thing you should be aware of while picking are dangers around you. Let`s start with what you wear. Footwear is really important and hiking boots are the best because of the karst terrain with a lot of loose rocks. They also give some protection of poisonous snakes which are common in this region although encounters are not that often but it is important to be aware of them. The best thing you can do is make them aware that you are there and they will mostly get away, they are sensitive to vibrations so making a march like steps or throwing a couple of stones around is also good to scare them off.

Sun protection and enough water are a must have, clothes should be well ventilated.

It is very important to work in teams and keep visual and vocal contact at all time, so if something happens to anyone help can be provided instantly. Wind can take away voices even when very close and walking and looking down for sage gets you far away fast.

Our yield was 150 kg at the end of the day.

Behind the scenes of Agropošta, a diary of founder Pavle Svaic

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



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