Since 2014, a selection of Appenzell farming families have been cultivating herbs for Appenzeller Alpenbitter. The cultivation started as a pilot but quickly became a successful project, and by now, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, marjoram, wormwood and winter savory are being grown.
There is no way, however, that all of the 42 herbs will ever be grown on Appenzell soil, as the climate is simply too cold and changeable for some of them.
Take the steep route to Sankt Anton, and you will be rewarded by a glorious panorama. Snuggled in between the hills is Anna Eugster’s lavender field, laid out in a way that is protected from the weather and in full sun – ideal conditions for the fantastically fragrant plants.
Right in front of Ida Signer’s farmhouse is the field of winter savory, wormwood and yellow gentian. She needed to try out various things at first, but now she is happy with her harvest. The process of herb drying is also a story in its own right, and each of the experts has their own slightly different approach, the details of which they keep close to their chest, naturally. After all, secrets are an Appenzell tradition.
Daniela Eggenberger has a passion for this intensely fragrant plant and tried out a whole range of varieties before she was happy with the quality. There are many species of peppermint, the leaves of which are not always green, but can also be white or very dark.
Brightly coloured butterflies circle above Margrit Koster’s lemon balm field – they love the fresh fragrance just as much as Margrit herself, who is passionate about her herbs. Lemon balm is an undemanding plant that regrows quickly and can be harvested several times per season.
Marie-Louise Dörig’s farm lies at the end of countless bends, so far behind the village of Eggerstanden that you stop believing there is anything left to find. Her fascination with the fragrance also inspired her to grow lemon balm, and makes working with the plant even more rewarding.