Historical background of the Saxon Obstland
Historic Obstland - Tradition since the Middle Ages
Fruit cultivation in the region originated in the Middle Ages. Fruit, vegetables, spices and medicinal plants have been cultivated in monastery gardens since the 12th/13th century. From here they found their way into the gardens of farmers and later even townspeople.
The Leipzig region was home to several monasteries of the Cistercian Order, some of which were particularly influential in the region of today's Obstland. These include the famous Buch Monastery at Leisnig and Nimbschen Convent at Grimma, as well as Marienthal in Sornzig, a religious home for Cistercian nuns for 300 years.
After the convent was secularised in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the mid-16th century, Sornzig continued to be run as an agricultural monastery property. From that time on, the Electors of Saxony – starting with Elector August and Electress Anna – promoted Saxon fruit-growing by state decree. In 1892, Dr. Ludolf Colditz purchased the Sornzig property and founded the tradition of modern fruit-growing plantations. In 1895, he registered the convent market garden as a limited company the same year that a fruit-growing association was established in Sornzig.
By 1900, there were 8,340 fruit trees in Sornzig alone: 5,382 apple trees, 754 pear trees, 1,414 plum trees and 790 cherry trees. A comprehensive nursery emerged and began to draw attention, thanks in part to some new varieties. Fruit trees and fruit from Sornzig gained popularity and prestige throughout Germany.
After the Second World War, fruit-growing in Sornzig and the neighbouring area continued on a cooperative basis. In 1966, the cooperatives in Ablass, Dürrweitzschen, Leisnig and Sornzig joined together to form the "Sachsenobst" (Saxon Fruit) cooperative association. At the beginning of the 1970s, agriculture in the region was almost completely converted to intensive fruit-growing. This established the "Obstland" as one of the five main fruit growing areas between the Baltic Sea and the Erzgebirge.
The Obstland Dürrweitzschen AG, founded in 800 following the re-privatisation of cooperative property from LPG Obstproduktion Dürrweitzschen, has built on more than 800 years of fruit-growing tradition across more than 1,500 hectares of land. The organisation markets its fresh, juicy produce under the brand "Sachsenobst", with a successful advertising campaign, "Just how nature should taste".
You can learn more about the sustainable and natural cultivation methods used by Saxon fruit farmers on vast, modern plantations in the Obstland ("fruit country").