ProVeg Incubator works with partners on its mission to support startups that are changing the future of food. In this blog, we interview Paula Pensky from the beverage company Ostmost, about industrial agriculture, inspiration, and bringing balance to the environment.
Tell us a little about Ostmost?
Ostmost produces organic juice, spritzer (aka „Schorlen“) and cider. We use old breeds of cider apples for our products, like Minister von Hammerstein, Geflammter Kardinal, or Gelbe Schafsnase, which come from fruit orchards in Eastern Germany. Many of these orchards are over 100-years old and can host up to 5,000 species of plants and animals. They are, however, an endangered resource. Almost 80% of these mini-rainforests in Germany have unfortunately been chopped down for use as monoculture plantations for example.
Is that what inspires the team at Ostmost, environmental protection?
We believe that this beautiful planet deserves care and protection. We also believe that destructive and unsustainable economic practices should be altered. By catering to the growing market for environmentally friendly and sustainably produced foodstuffs, we intend to contribute to this ideal. For our products, we only use fruit harvested from regional heritage fruit orchards. By spacing trees widely and cultivating varieties adapted to regional climates, such orchards have developed over centuries. They avoid the use of intensive farming techniques, which are associated with pesticide use and the depletion of crop varieties.
What is Ostmost’s contribution to change?
We are part of a growing society that wants to contribute to preserving and protecting nature and the sense of wonder that comes from living in it. It is important for us to be able to contribute financially towards the preservation of regional landscapes, sustainable economic activity, and maintaining rural environments.
The orchards from which we source our ingredients are limited. That is why when fruit harvests are used-up, no more Ostmost products will be available on the market until the next season. This is an intentional departure from us from the consumer expectation of endless supplies, transported all over the world. We want to reintroduce a sense of wonder at things that are ‘scarce’ in line with the course of nature.
Can you tell us more about how you are working with nature?
We operate according to permaculture, an agricultural concept that aims to create sustainable, nature-orientated products, following natural production cycles. Ostmost actively promotes the use of existing traditional fruit orchards and aims to create the economic incentive to recreate them.
Opposed to industrial crop monocultures employed in industrial agriculture, Ostmost combines biodiversity with economy and wealth creation. We are a premium-priced product because we pay farmers more than twice the average price offered in conventional markets. We want to encourage farmers to operate in ways that are in tune with nature, serving as stewards for landscape preservation and the protection of biodiversity.
With its regional orientation, Ostmost also aims to minimise the CO2 footprint of its products and its operations. Our fruit orchards are mostly open to public use and are precious areas of recreation and relaxation. By visiting and exploring these areas consumer gain a deeper sense of identification and connection with the land we are working to protect.