Apfelbaum im Obstland © W.Siesing

Apfelbaum im Obstland © W.Siesing

Historical background

The fruit-growing in the region originated in the Middle Ages, when fruit, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants were grown in monastery gardens as long ago as the 12th/13th century. As time went on, this produce found its way into the gardens of farmers and later even city dwellers. Several Cistercian monasteries were located in the Leipzig region, a few highly influential examples of which congregated in what is known today as the Obstland ('fruit country'). These include the famous Kloster Buch at Leisnig and Nimbschen Convent at Grimma, as well as Marienthal in Sornzig, a religious home to 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 geared towards intensive fruit-growing; the Obstland' ('fruit country') quickly established itself as one of five main fruit-growing regions between the Baltic Sea and the Erzgebirge mountains.

The Obstland Dürrweitzschen AG, founded in 1991 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" (Saxon fruit), 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").