Indonesia

A hard shell and a rich heart – delicious coconuts

We grow the coconuts for our coconut products on the south coast of Java in Indonesia’s Pangandaran. Indonesia is the largest island state in the world with around 255 million inhabitants who speak the national language, Bahasa. The country. The people of the country earn their living through agriculture, prospecting or tourism.

In 2015, we launched the cultivation project with a radius of approx. four kilometres and we took over the Naturland certification of around 487 agricultural farmers with the help of Control Union. Each day we have an experienced contact person from our company on site, providing support to farmers and processors for any issues which arise from the cultivation stage through to packaging. When working with partners, we regard close collaboration and commitment to be very important, biological cultivation and high product quality are just as important to us as the living and working conditions of the producers in the country of cultivation.

Cultivation

Coconut palms have been cultivated for more than 3000 years; they are rarely seen in mono-cultures. The coconut palm is robust but as a tropical plant, it still requires a humid and warm climate. Preferably with a constant breeze of salty sea air. The optimal conditions for its growth are therefore on the coast. During dry periods, palms can store water like camels. This makes the fruit sweeter. The climate always has a direct influence on the taste, which is never exactly the same. Coconut palms will bear fruit for up to 70 years and their maximum age is 120 years.

The harvest

The fruit is harvested in Indonesia all year round and the months of May to July bring the highest yields. An organic farmer with assistants can harvest between 10,000 to 15,000 coconuts each day. This work requires skill and experience, as the coconuts hang at a height of 15 to 30 metres. Either the helpers climb up on the coconut palms and knock the coconuts down with a sickle or they beat them from the ground with the help of bamboo stakes. They use a trick to collect the coconuts lying on the ground: instead of laboriously bending over, the staff use sickles and hurl the nuts with a strong swing onto the trailer.

Before the coconuts can be collected for further processing in the factory, the employees remove the green outer shell of the coconut. The outer shell is used: either to produce energy or as a natural fertiliser beneath the coconut palms. A maximum of 24 hours passes from the point of harvest through to onward processing, which means that the coconuts still contain fresh coconut water. In total, around 170,000 nuts are supplied for processing each day.

Processing

Our local partners are experienced processors for our coconut products. Product quality is the most important thing. Strict checks are carried out several times over the entire process and are documented. The first check takes place when the coconuts are delivered: have they been freshly harvested and are they healthy? The trained eye can see a lot from making an assessment of the outside of the coconut. But not everything by any means. This is why the coconuts are opened, and the water from a maximum of seven coconuts is collected in a container and checked by an employee for quality assurance purposes. If it doesn’t meet the criteria, both the water and the coconut will be taken out and will be used for fertiliser.

During processing, there is a clear division of labour: traditionally, the men crack the coconuts and the women then shell them. After being shelled by hand, the coconut flesh is then subject to further quality checks. Onward processing is carried out in accordance with our product formulae which have been developed over many years. These product formulae are confidential, but we can reveal this much: the coconut water in the coconuts is drained and collected; the flesh of the fruit is pressed. For the coconut milk drink, only the raw milk from the pressed coconut flesh is mixed with coconut water and tetrapacks are filled with the milk on site. For other varieties, mango purée or cocoa powder is added.

As well as coconut milk to drink, organic coconut water and organic coconut milk are also produced and packaged for cooking. What makes all these products special is how natural they are: there are no additives whatsoever. Once the products have been packaged, another quality check takes place before shipping to Oyten.