Our Philosophy and Goals
Our orchard in Schefflenz is part of a larger plantation planted in 1958. The trees are old and need rejuvination, or replacment, but overall the orchard is still quite productive.
We occasionally use fruit from specific old trees, usually perry pear trees dotted across the surrounding farmland, which we have taken over the care of. As a result, the carbon footprint of our cider is as low as it can be.
Honest, natural Cider
Our ciders are 100% fermented juice (never concentrate), sometimes with an experimental edge. We play with yeast types, barrel-ageing, bottle conditioning and mixed fermentations with other fruits. The goal is always to produce something tasty and natural, that honestly represents the fruit from which the cider or perry is made.
We try to reduce waste, so that every part of the apple is used. Waste apples and pomace after pressing is either given to hunters for feeding wild boar and deer, or to local farmers as a supplemental feed.
We do not spray our trees, and we try to encourage species diversity at the orchard with simple, practical actions, like planting flower meadows and mixed hedging to encourage insects and wildlife.
In addition, we’re embarking on more extensive planting activities, and the propagation of rare or endangered apple and pear varieties.
Conservation of our cultural landscape
Baden-Württemberg is known for its fruit tree culture, especially Streuobstwiesen, and Schefflenz is no exception. Go for a walk around the community and you see everywhere the large old pear trees dotting the landscape, rows of fruit trees lining the roads, and small orchards scattered around. But these are pale remnants of the former glory of our landscape.
Our own orchard was planted in the 1950’s, and parts of it we only bought to ensure that the trees remained and were not turned into tillage. Of course, now having so many apples, the next step was to start selling the Cider we were producing anyway!
But we are trying to do more. As well as caring for the trees we have, we are trying to create more variety on the land we own by sowing flower meadows and planting new apple trees, and others that support the local ecology.
At the same time, we have a particular interest in preserving old apple and pear sorts, and over the next few years will try to propagate endangered varieties, to play our part in helping to keep them from disappearing.
We encourage anyone who is interested in local produce to plant their own trees, or if that is not possible, to engage in the Obstbaumbörse, to take on the care of existing trees that have been neglected.
We have founded and host the Schefflenzer Obstbaumbörse (Fruit Tree Exchange) to encourage our community to maintain and make use of existing fruit trees, and to plant more. If you have trees or orchards sitting unused and neglected, you can offer them to others who may be interested in caring for them. Likewise, if you would like to take over the care of trees, and be able to use the fruit for your own purposes, this is the place to call.
Supporting the Goals of the Pomologist Association
The Pomologen Verein is a group of experts and enthusiasts, responsible for the campaign for the preservation of heirloom fruit varieties, among many other related themes. They find, identify, preserve and propagate heirloom fruit varieties, plant conservation orchards, hold lectures on identification of fruit varieties and care of fruit trees, and organise fruit exhibitions. Members receive a yearbook, and numerous events, both local and national, are organised throughout the year.
But they also provide a service on many practical things, such as providing advice on new plantings, recommending varieties for different regions, especially for private gardens, orchards and self sufficiency. Most importantly, they also maintain and develop the database of the preservation network of fruit varieties at www.obstsortenerhalt.de.
Members, and indeed non-members, are encouraged to reuse and take care of old orchards, plant new orchards and take over fruit tree sponsorships. Not to mention the joy of rediscovering the range of flavour of heirloom fruit varieties. And close to our hearts, the public is encouraged to buy products from local orchards, e. g. apple juice or cider, and to discover orchards and cideries as a place of learning and adventure.
We are proud to be members of this society, and wish to do what we can locally to promote the values of the organisation.