Aronia Life j.d.o.o. was founded in Šarengrad, as a joint project of the two co-founders. It was created as a result of the desire to start one’s own business venture, using the compatibility of personal knowledge, skills, and business experience of the co-founders.
The reason for founding Aronia Life j.d.o.o. was to provide continuous income with added value based on a diversified range of products from their own organically grown chokeberry, and the desire for a better life of family members – enabling a healthier life in a small urban and rural environment, the beautiful town of Sharengrad near Ilok, located on the banks of the mighty Danube the beginnings of Fruška Gora, which, in addition to fertile soil, is adorned with a significant number of sunny days, which gives the chokeberry fruit a high proportion of natural sugar. The family farm was first founded by one of the co-founders (Darko Milinković) and in April 2014 2,000 two-year-old black chokeberry seedlings (type Nero) were planted, and in 2016 the plantations were increased by 1.5 ha planted with 3,300 three-year black seedlings chokeberry (type Nero) at the location of Sharengrad.
We chose the variety of “black chokeberry (aronia)” (Nero) because due to its resistance to pests and diseases, chokeberry is ideal for organic farming. Its berries are the best source of antioxidants in the world so it can be considered a medicinal plant. Ecological processing of chokeberry fruit and production of very tasty fruit preparations without chemical contamination preserves unquestionable chemical properties.
Aronia is a shrub that does not require much processing. Compared to other fruits, it is very resistant to pests and diseases. That is why it is much easier to grow it organically. Aronia owes its resistance to high levels of polyphenols throughout the plant that effectively protects it from bacteria, diseases and fungi. Insects are reluctant to feed on plants rich in flavonoids and tannins, so the list of pests and diseases that could potentially threaten chokeberry is very short for now.
Aronia originates from North America, from where it came to Europe. The North American natives used it as food and medicine. In Europe, it was primarily noticed for the beauty of the flower. In many parts of the world, this fruit is classified as a medicinal plant due to its medicinal properties. It is resistant to winter and frost, so it survives at temperatures down to -47 ° C, which is why it is called “Siberian blueberry”.
The product range consists of:
Aronko Group products:
o Organically certified 100% fruit juice produced by cold pressing of chokeberry berries in packages in various quantities of 0.2; 0.5 and 0.7 L.
o 100% chokeberry tea produced from organically certified chokeberry fruit by drying at 40 ° C fresh peel of squeezed fruits in packages of 100g and 200g.
o 100% powder from ecologically certified chokeberry fruit obtained by chopping dried previously squeezed berries.
– Arlen, fruit dessert wine made from chokeberry, winner of 2 silver medals at the 49th and 51st wine exhibition of continental Croatia in Sv. Ivan Zelina..this product makes us especially proud, when we produced this fruit wine for the first time, in 2016, this concept of fruit wine could not be found on the market; literally, copies of our concept are already appearing, but that can only be an indicator of interest in this product, so we don’t really mind.
The biggest difficulty in organic aronia cultivation is weed control, especially the first two years. That is why it is very important to prepare the soil well before planting. As usual in organic farming, weed control is achieved by sowing mixtures of plants to cover the soil. If possible, it is advisable to sow and plow twice a season. This treatment will eliminate most weeds and enrich the soil with humus and essential nutrients. Cover plants are plowed when they bloom, and the young shoots are green rather than woody, which ensures faster decomposition of organic matter in the soil. The basis of good organic cultivation is the planting of shoots purchased for the establishment of plantations.
The soil is cultivated with a cultivator, cultivator or cultivator, which should not be used more than twice a season because its frequent use destroys the soil structure.
In the first two years, narrow rows of chokeberries are usually weeded by hand. After that, the plants should be tall enough and spread enough to stifle most of the weeds and only need to remove individual weeds from inside the bush.
Organic fertilizers and composts are used in organic production and only those mineral fertilizers are approved for organic farming and are on the list of products for use in organic agriculture.
Today, there is an increasing number of organic products on the market to improve soil properties. They are mainly based on bio humus (vermicompost) – a natural fertilizer produced by earthworms. By accelerating the process of humus formation, earthworms break down chemical compounds that would otherwise have to go through a complex process of chemical change so plants can easily absorb them for their growth and development. Therefore, the mineral components in bio humus-based products are present in their natural form. About 70% of their total amount is absorbed by plants immediately after application. At the same time, microorganisms beneficial to humans and the environment are introduced into the soil and help to stimulate microbiological activity.
The process of processing the fruit of chokeberry is performed after the end of the so-called harvest. by the process of “cold pressing”, ie mechanical kneading, without the addition of solvents and heating, because thus all the natural properties of the juice remain unchanged. Upon completion of processing, the juice is filled into bottles of 0.7, 0.5 and 0.20 l.
The process of processing the fruit into juice in the plant consists of the following steps:
1 Washing and rinsing in a washing machine with water
2 Grinding and storage in the so-called pressing bags (cotton) – wrapping or in larger plants it is done by machine – press
3 Press – squeezing the juice – by cold pressing
4 Collecting squeezed juice
5 Pasteurization at 80 degrees
6 Bottle filling
7 Cooling in a pool with running water at 25 degrees C approx. 30 min
The benefits of chokeberry are numerous; personally we all, the whole family continuously consume juice, every morning 0.5 dcl on an empty stomach, the powder is added to the mixture for pancakes, yoghurts, smoothies, biscuit cakes, etc., tea on request: in the summer as a cold beverage, in the winter hot, sweetened with acacia honey, wine as a relaxing beverage for enjoyment.
Dried chokeberry contains glucose and fructose, which give it a sweet note. It is rich in fibre, among which soluble pectin stands out, and there is also cellulose and lignin. The content of sorbitol, an alcohol used as a sweetener in the production of dietary products, is considerable.
It has a laxative effect, so consuming dried chokeberry helps with regular bowel movements and detoxification of the body.
The amount of fat and protein is negligible. Potassium and zinc are extracted from minerals. Potassium helps maintain the acid-base balance of the body, while zinc is an important link in wound healing, strengthening immunity, and also helps prostate health. There are also vitamin B1, which is necessary for nerve health, B2 and B3, which help obtain energy from nutrients, B6, which is important in protein synthesis, and thus the renewal and building of tissues, and others.
Aronia also contains beta-carotene, which has antioxidant activity, and vitamin C, which participates in the formation of collagen and thus helps wound healing and bone structure. In addition, a sufficient amount of vitamin C in the body shortens the duration of the flu, so chokeberry is very useful during the winter months. Aronia is highly valued because it contains much more polyphenols – procyanidins, anthocyanins and phenolic acids than in many other types of dried fruit. These active components have a pronounced physiological effect. This primarily refers to the neutralization of free radicals, which prevents the oxidation of fats and thus protects the structure of cell membranes, but also many enzyme systems of the body.
Red pigments anthocyanins, in addition to antioxidants, show anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action. In addition, they protect the liver from the effects of various harmful chemicals, and in experimental animals, they prevent the accumulation of cadmium in the liver and kidneys. The active substances of chokeberry protect the gastric mucosa from the undesirable effects of alcohol, prevent the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body, and also protect the colon from cancer. One study showed that chokeberry protects divers’ erythrocytes from oxidative stress. Chokeberry polyphenols show antimutagenic activity and also strengthen immunity. No less important is the protective effect of the active substances of chokeberry on the heart and blood vessels.
They participate in regulating blood pressure and preventing the formation of plaque on the inner wall of blood vessels. The regular presence of chokeberry in the diet lowers the increased concentration of glucose and total and bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. Basically, the benefits are numerous.
There are various ways to use chokeberry in your daily diet; personally, we all, the whole family (and the wider) continuously consume juice, every morning 0.5 dcl on an empty stomach, the powder is added to the mixture for pancakes, yoghurts, smoothies, biscuit cakes, etc., tea on request: in the summer as a cold beverage, in winter hot, sweetened with acacia honey, wine as a relaxing drink for pleasure. According to the positive reactions of consumers, the wine has similarities with red rich bouquet wines, but we have directed the variation in the direction of dessert wine; we personally are the favorites of these aromatic, sweet, complex wines that are intended to be enjoyed in smaller quantities (alcohol is high), after meals, by candlelight, on the terrace, by the Danube, the sea..or on the living room couch evoke memories of such places, surroundings.
The long-term benefits that we personally notice in our example of consumption are:
– Strengthening immunity; no seasonal colds, viral diseases; the best example is the youngest daughter who has been in kindergarten since the age of 6 months and now at the age of almost 6 there are no absences from kindergarten due to illness (only family trips to Šarengrad),
– The total state of the organism and energy is higher, although we older people are already ‘in years’, we tolerate increased physical effort well, ie periods of increased physical activity, primarily my husband who knows how to spend 10-12 hours on the plantation cultivating it, I am intensified in travel Zagreb – Šarengrad due to work obligations in Zagreb. The oldest members of the family, grandmother, 81.g. also continuously drink juice; says: it suits me
Since this is a start-up project, it takes some time until the desired position in the market is achieved and full business efficiency is achieved, related to the full yield of chokeberry fruit.
According to our mission:
Organic farming, top quality with targeted processing and marketing.
The uniqueness of the product offer recognizable high quality and reasonable prices.
We continue to ‘listen’ to the target market and try to meet the upcoming needs of our products, and there are various variations, from food products: jam, chocolate dried chokeberry to alcoholic beverages: brandy, liqueur.
For now, our goal is simple; survive all the challenges and succeed in marketing products that we personally deeply believe in and our way of life and therefore the name of the company: ARONIA LIFE