Aronia, the healthy berry
Every year, tens of thousands of tourists cycle past them on the Elbe cycle path, but few know what they are: aronia berries. These berries originate in North America and are a member of the rose family. They came to Saxony via what was then the Soviet Union and were first planted in Upper Lusatia at the start of the 1970s.
One of the last, and also the biggest, aronia berry cultivation areas in Germany is found on the Elbe between Radebeul and Meissen. The healthy berries are grown on approximately 40 hectares in the hills of the Coswig districts of Kötitz and Brockwitz.
The aronia plantations can easily be reached by bicycle via the popular Elbe cycle path. A trailer providing information about aronia berries is set up right by the plantation. It explains all the berries’ benefits and is easily spotted even from a distance. Visitors can take home information brochures or even try products made using the aronia berry.
Many cycling tourists have now planted aronia berries in their own gardens. The shrub, which grows up to two metres high, is extremely easy to care for, has hardly any requirements in terms of soil and location and withstands frost up to about -35° Celsius. As well as the healthy berries which are fully ripened towards the end of August, the plant is also a feast for the eyes at the start of autumn, when the leaves turn a fiery red. There are now countless organic foodstuffs made using the berries, from dried aronia berries in a chocolate coating to aronia juice, jelly and even syrup and liqueur.
They can also be used to make aronia cake, aronia ice-cream, aronia hearts (by Dr. Quendt), aronia sausage, aronia bread and wine, among other things. From the perspective of producers and partners, however, there are simply no limits.
Many of the products mentioned can be sampled and purchased every year at the plantation in Brockwitz during the Aronia Festival. Anyone with their own original ideas for how to use the berries can also pick their own, or buy Aronia plants.