PRODUCER & TERROIR
Mileta Prtenjak was born in 1964. His son and daughter work with him at the family farm. Mileta started out in 1980 with a helping hand from his parents. He now owns over three acres of raspberry plantations and produces about 20,000kg of Meeker raspberries. He also grows fruit and vegetables that he sells at local markets. He has chosen to produce the terroir’s traditional Meeker raspberries.
Malina: Serbian for “Raspberry”, Arilje’s Red Gold
Arilje is Serbia’s raspberry capital. This location in western Serbia is crisscrossed by three rivers and basks in a humid climate. It has specialized in growing raspberries for the past 50 years. This “red gold” now supports much of the local population, so much so that residents throw an annual festival and have erected a monument in the fruit’s honor. The town’s traditional growing practices and the quality fruit it produces have won it Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union.
« In accordance with Arilje tradition, young shoots are cut to better expose the fruit to sunlight, letting them fill with sugar. »Raspberry farmer since 1980
According to local producers, their fruit owes its quality largely to the small scale of their farms, where growers have the time to devote themselves to looking after their fields. Farming traditions in Arilje involve regularly coppicing branches and buds so that nutrients are spread across fewer fruits, boosting their quality. Most of the growing is done by hand. Even better, Mileta has made the best of the setting by planting raspberry bushes on the north-facing slopes, not far from a beech wood that protects them from high winds and offers a little shade.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ACTION
Our partner uses pheromone traps to control harmful insects on his farm.
Rather than spraying fungicides, he binds his raspberry bushes with string, much like a vineyard. This helps to keep the crops better aerated, preventing botrytis from giving the fruit gray mold.
Before he plants his raspberries, Mileta also grows legumes such as peas and beans to infuse the soil with nitrogen. As a result, this nutrient is naturally present for the raspberry bushes to enjoy.
Working with Partner Producers Too
We always want our supply chains to be as short and direct as possible and to work with a single producer whenever we can. However, if we use two varieties of the same fruit or orchards are too small to meet our needs, we will work with several producer partners instead. We always apply the same standards, specifications and commitments as we do with the grower we present to you in greater depth. Fruit supply chains often require teamwork, and it is essential we get to know all our growers and support their efforts.
Mileta Prtenjak Arilje Serbia
Branislav Bujosevic Arilje Serbia