Optimum processing conditions - Tradition, experts and a central location
Agricultural success in Erfurt has been reported from as early as the first official mention of the city in AD 742. The fertilisation of the Gera floodplains laid the foundations for the present-day field of "horticulture, agriculture and the foodstuffs industry”, and promoted the cultivation of wine, fruit and vegetables in the loam and black-earth soils found here.
Erfurt’s location at the southern edge of the Thuringia Basin, on the sheltered side of the Harz and Thuringian Forest, plays a crucial role in the development of horticulture. The regional climate, characterised by this lee effect, is described by meteorologists as dry and warm, slightly continental, with low rainfall. Even in early times, as a result of growing the dye plant known as dyer’s woad, these conditions helped Erfurt achieve wealth, which can today still be seen in the medieval townscape.
Nowadays, Erfurt’s horticultural focuses are on the growing and trading of flower and vegetable seeds, cuttings and cacti, as well as the growing and refinement of fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants. The egapark Erfurt (Erfurt horticultural exhibit), the German Horticultural Museum and internationally-oriented companies such as N. L. Chrestensen and Kakteen-Haage distinguish Erfurt as a horticultural centre well beyond the city‘s borders.
Apart from optimum cultivation conditions, Erfurt also offers the aforementioned industries research options and, most importantly, a tradition of well-trained experts. Erfurt University of Applied Sciences, with its faculty for landscape architecture, horticulture and forests, underlines this with specialised Bachelors and Masters courses. The Erfurt horticultural learning and test institute and the Leibniz Institute for cultivation of vegetables and ornamental plants (IGZ) further enrich the industry-based education and research facilities.
Erfurt’s foodstuffs production is closely interlinked with agriculture and horticulture. Numerous mills once powered by the Gera river and its tributaries served to process grains and extract oil. They supplied the local noodle production plants, as well as the breweries, which also benefited from Erfurt’s malthouses. Production of noodles and oil continues to remain strong even today, as does the brewing industry. The present-day foodstuffs industry in the Thuringian state capital is further enhanced by a dairy factory, a large-scale bakery and meat-processing establishments which manufacture popular Thuringian meat and sausage specialities. Mustard and Schittchen Stollen cakes are also characteristic of Erfurt’s foodstuffs industry.
With quick routes from production plants to the shelves, Erfurt’s central location in the heart of Germany also ensures optimum economical conditions.