From farm to bottle
How Märkische Schweiz produces its trademark apple juice
Amidst the hustle and bustle of Markthalle Neun, we had to stop at the ‘Biokelterei Bergschäferei’ stand—a Märkische-Schweiz based company that produces fruit juices from their orchard's in-house organic wine press.
Here, in the middle of the Schäferberg, lies the Bergschäferei organic wine press managed by Leonie, where both home-grown and regional organic fruit is processed into juice, which is then sold in Markthalle Neun, among other places. A quick look at the view and it’s easy to see why Leonie doesn't mind the commute between here and Berlin.
Not too long ago, about a kilometer away, the apples were still hanging in the orchard. Quite a few trees there are remains from a trial project from about 70 years ago. This project was intended to test which apple varieties would grow best in this region and survive the weather conditions.
What remained were over 100 different varieties of apples! This orchard is also home to other fruits like quinces, elderberries, a few pears, and some wild fruit varieties grow here too, which are also juiced and bottled up, along with the apples.
No two juices are alike, because their range includes a variety of fruit combinations that change by the year, with every harvest. This is exactly what makes their apple juice unlike any other: aromatic, regional fruit grown with love each year and then freshly pressed into authentic juices.
From farm to bottle – How Märkische Schweiz produces its trademark apple juice
"We only use home-grown and organic fruit, which usually has a particularly intense aroma, that can't be missed. We then brainstorm and test new combinations for our juices. Personally, I like our classic apple juice the best, but apple-mint, beet with apple and rhubarb, and our quince cider are quite popular too.“
Next to the sheep, the tractors and some picturesque walls, you can see a giant trailer that almost horizontally stretches towards the sky. Inside, there is a red sea of heavenly ripe apples that are transported into a building, the winery, via a conveyor belt.
How are apples processed into apple juice?
As we walk into the press, the first thing that hits us is the authentic scent of fresh apples. It is loud and rightly so, the press is in use. Before the juicing begins, the apples are cleaned on the conveyor belt with a hose to remove any dirt. Then, each apple is inspected and rotten apples are sorted out.
The conveyor belt then transports them one by one into the apple press. Any residue from the juicing, like skin, stem, core and fibres are collected in containers. These make up for the nutritious treats for the sheep living on the farm – real gourmets!
After the apples have been pressed, the juice is filtered and then slightly heated to rid it of any bacteria. The small space where the apples are pressed into an aromatic juice is surrounded by tanks in diffeent sizes.
Depending on the variety, the amber-colored juice flows through hoses to find its way to respective tanks. These tanks then fill up 5-liter boxes or regular bottles, as required. With a lid and label on, the juice is ready for tasting!