Stassen and nature: A beautiful love story!
To ensure a guaranteed, steady and sufficient supply of apples which have the technological qualities it is looking for, Stassen has established several hundred hectares of orchards on long-term contracts with over twenty or so farmers. Half of these orchards are located in Belgium (in the province of Liege) and the rest are in France in the Thierache region north of the department of Aisne). Compared to a standard eating apple orchard, (trees 2 – 2.5 metres tall, planted at an average density of 1600 plants to the hectare), the cider apple orchard contains trees which are between 5 to 6 metres tall planted at a density of 700 trees per hectare. The cider factory provides its contracting farmers with a technical service carried out by an agricultural engineer.
In eating apple orchards, the fruit is picked by hand while in our cider apple orchards, their strong natural resistance to knocks means they can be harvested by machine after they have been shaken off.
The apples are harvested when fully ripe and are processed straight away, after first having been pre-cleaned at the orchard and then given a final wash in the factory.
Stassen sources its apples from different suppliers
To produce its aromatic ciders Stassen sources its eating apples from local fruit farmers in the broadest sense. These apples are mainly the Jonagold, Elstar and Boscoop varieties.
To produce some of its ciders, Stassen needs huge quantities of so-called “bitter-sweet” cider apples which give the cider its typical characteristics and distinctive flavour.
The varieties planted are cider apple varieties from France (Kermerrien, Douce Moën, Bedan…), and from England (Dabinett, Major, Ellis Bitter…). These varieties produce very firm small apples with a very high sugar and tannin content.
Organically farmed appels
To produce “Organic” ciders Stassen has set up long-term contracts with farmers who only work using organic production methods..
THE STASSEN FAMILY TREE
This is a 120-year-old apple tree, with deep green foliage and gnarled trunk. Will you sit down and look at it?
Take your time, see the Joie de Vivre hiding in plain sight, be taken by these craftsmen passing on their passion to the next generation.