First day of Sage picking in the wild.

8th of May 2017 First day Sage picking 2017

Trtar hill middle Dalmatia.

Altitude 450 m.

First day – mostly cloudy, unstable, wind from different directions, showers all around

Before the harvest, we have done three inspections to determine the development of the state of the plants are at and precisely schedule the picking date. First inspection was done 2 weeks before the harvest, second 1 week before and the last one 3 days before the harvest.

Winter and early spring were very dry so the sage bushes were small and poorly developed, but healthy. Two days before the harvest we had heavy rain and even the night before we wanted to start picking it was still raining, so we had to postpone the picking for couple of hours for the flowers to dry. We started picking at 12:00.

Rain has strongly influenced the plant to start producing resin like juices, which is exactly what we are looking for, so just a gentle cuddle releases its intense fragrance meters away. Sage was at an ideal state for picking but we had three more rain showers that day so we had to stop and wait for the flowers to dry again. First day we picked only 50 kg but happy with the quality we get down from the hill at twilight.

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

Best,

Pavle

almost time for Sage and Elderflower picking.

For our sage and elderflower cordials we pick in the wild. Because we have to pick the flowers at just the right moment we have to watch them closely and decide at the last moment when to start picking. Since the whether has been colder than normal this slowed the proces down and we have to wait. We will keep you posted!

Agropošta goes Antwerpen…

This coming Sunday we will be promoting Agropošta at Swan Market Antwerp. After successful editions in Utrecht and Rotterdam we will now visit our Belgian neighbours. So please visit us at the Grote Markt in Antwerpen and taste all of our flavours.

For our Belgian Agropošta fans it is good to know that we will be available at more places in Belgium in the near future. Keep you posted!

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The Benelux

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