Large scale apple growing in northern Sweden
Bringing together stakeholders within the agricultural sector has been ongoing since 2017 in parallel with Västerbotten-based ice cider producer Brännland Cider establishing its ciders in national and international markets.Preceded by trial orchards in the vicinity of the city of Umeå on the Baltic seaboard the company is now scaling up its ambitions.
In December 2019 the Swedish Board of Agriculture granted funding to the project “Commercial productive apple growing in a northern climate – innovation for new climate resilient agriculture in northern Europe” within the framework of EIP-agri, the European innovation partnership for productivity and sustainability within agriculture.
“This is a major step in creating an entirely new and unique terroir for ice cider in northern Sweden but of course also opens up a large scope of opportunities for farmers in the north to diversify with positive implications for agriculture, regional food production, tourism and the larger sustainability issues our society as a whole faces. The project aligns to the ambitions highlighted in the EU Green Deal and 2030 UN Sustainability Development Goals,” says Andreas Sundgren Graniti, founder of Brännland Cider.
A strong team has formed around the mission. The project will be led by Daniel Pacurar from Boreal Orchards who up until now has been instrumental in contributing practical experience and academic knowledge to the trial orchards that have formed the basis for the project. Daniel is a horticultural engineer with a PhD in Agronomy and long experience in R&D and in leading large and ambitious projects within biotech, horticulture and forestry.
“We are honored to partner with Brännland Cider in the pioneering work of establishing apple growing in Northern Sweden. It will be an exciting journey. We are going to learn new ways of growing apple trees, creating new terroir expressions for ice cider and generate knowledge that will benefit future generation of apple growers in the north and elsewhere. We are laying the path as we walk it. I am confident that the team´s compounded experience and expertise will secure the successful completion of this project. Brännland Cider is arguably making the best ice cider on the planet. Together we are now laying the foundation of what is going to be an evolution of that fantastic achievement,” says Daniel Pacurar, Boreal Orchards.
The project is set to run between 2020 and 2023 and will combine traditional cultivation models with more conventional methods, trial a wide base of apple varieties to create an opportunity for northern farmers to diversify, optimize land use, decrease transports and water usage in the region and create a new branch of climate resilient sustainable agriculture. The long term aim also includes stream-lined product development partnerships from the individual farmer to local, regional and global markets.
“This project will expand on and put into practice, on a commercial scale, the positive experiences Brännland Cider has made so far in our trial orchards in Burträsk 100 km north of Umeå and at Röbäcksdalen just outside Umeå. It’s not just about growing apples where none have been grown before for the purpose of creating a product of singular quality; we want to see our region blossoming and this is a huge step towards achieving that goal,” continues Sundgren Graniti.