Customer report: Sherpa from AS-Motor does not give up

Pure apple juice from historical apple varieties. This is the passion of Luise Naderer from the Luisengärten. Top priority for the organic farmer from Riedenburg in the Altmühltal (Germany) is top quality. Not the only reason why an AS 940 Sherpa 4WD is the perfect partner for her work in the orchard meadows.

"I am a perfect career changer in agriculture," says the 61-year-old, and tells how she came to her current job or, more appropriately formulated, her vocation. "I learned technical drawing and then studied mechanical engineering. I worked in technical development for almost 25 years - in a wide variety of fields: automotive, agricultural engineering, aircraft engineering and medical technology. At the end of the 1990s, I came to the point where I could imagine less and less that I would be doing this for another 20 years. Always just sitting in the office, shielding everything, not noticing if it was raining outside or if the sun was shining. And the worst thing is that you don't see the parts you develop until half a year later. That's when the project after next is already up and running. I'm just a person who wants to touch the things that are created in my head. At some point I made up my mind and I quit."

"When the trees give me something, I’ll make apple juice from it"

In her early forties, the mechanical engineer started all over again from scratch. "I wanted to get out into nature. I got a trade licence, attended numerous seminars at the University of Applied Science in Weihenstephan (Germany) in garden maintenance and then set up my own business in the field of home and garden service," she says looking back. I found this property here near Riedenburg (Germany) in 2007 with a meadow orchard. In 2008, when there was so much fruit here that I didn't know where to put it, the idea of pressing and marketing pure apple juice from historic apple varieties gradually emerged. I had noticed the orchard meadows, where nobody cares and where everything rots away. For example: “Dorfallmenden” (areas owned by local municipalities) or compensation areas, which were created in the course of the Main-Tauber-Channel construction (connects the rivers Main and Tauber in Germany). There are trees and nobody is interested in them. I started making lease requests, renting the land and preparing the trees. And when the trees give me something, I’ll make apple juice from it."

On the AS 940 Sherpa 4WD as in a plane at take-off

The orchardist now cultivates eleven hectares of land with around 500 apple trees and 150 pear trees within a radius of twenty kilometres. An AS 940 Sherpa 4WD has also been part of the operation since 2015. "Twice a year the areas and undergrowth are mowed, once in June and then again in late autumn. The Sherpa is always used when I can't get there with the tractor. That means especially directly under the trees, on terraces, embankments and slopes. I have slopes, they are so steep that I sit in my Sherpa like on the runway in an airplane. And it goes straight up. That's the best part, the AS-Motor mower pulls through, doesn't even slow down, the revs remain the same and the mowing result fits. The Sherpa just doesn't give up," enthuses Luise Naderer.

Sometimes she also leaves a few stripes for the insects during the first mowing. After all, everyone needs their place, explains the convinced organic farmer and makes it clear that she wants to work with nature in harmony: "My areas are all certified organic and my claim is to have a closed ecological cycle. That's why I use the growth on the meadows as fodder for my Cameroonian sheep, as well as the pomace produced during pressing and all the fallen fruit. The undergrowth on the orchard meadows, which is mowed for the first time in November, is then already quite woody, but that is no problem for the Sherpa".

Engine is unbreakable

Things get particularly exciting when Luise Naderer discovers and leases a new meadow orchard. "Some of the meadows are so neglected that only the treetops can be seen, everything else is overgrown," she says, "Once I had a new area, it was pure jungle. I had hoped that the responsible municipality would help me to clear the meadow of sloes and blackberries, but unfortunately there was no time. I thought, now my Sherpa has to do it. Then I went full throttle into the undergrowth and the Sherpa cleaned it all away, phenomenal! One reason why I am so enthusiastic about this mower. I also drive in when thick sloes are pushing in. This is not an issue for the blades or the engine power. When I bought the mower, it had already worked for 400 hours and I have now driven as many hours on it. The engine seems to be unbreakable."

Small animals not in danger

In addition to the areas of municipalities, Luise Naderer also manages orchard meadows of associations and the German Society for Nature Conservation, (NABU). NABU attaches great importance to the meadows being managed as meagrely as possible in order to increase the variety of flowers and species. This is one of the reasons why I cut the grass and feed it to my sheep. In this respect I benefit from the fact that I have removed the upper blade since this summer. The mowing result is still sufficiently good for my purposes and I have longer cuttings. It's easier to rake it up and transport it away.

What the NABU also appreciates about Luise Naderer's work is that small animals are hardly ever in danger when she mows with the AS-Motor ride-on mower. "In the past, the meadows were mowed with the knife bar, after which everything was flat. This does not happen with my Sherpa. I drive at half speed, then the animals have enough time to run away. The vibration makes me announce my arrival and then a grasshopper jumps away, bees fly up or a lizard scurries to the side. That is nice to watch. And the animals that don't run away don't get hurt either, slowworms, frogs and grass snakes remain unharmed. Because I never mow on the lowest step, but still leave about ten centimetres."

Differentiated green vision

The fact that Luise Naderer knows so much about the different historical apple varieties is also due to the fact that a few years ago she had an education as herbalist. "I have learned to see green in a differentiated way. In the past everything was green, the meadows, the forest, everything. Today I recognise the different plants and know what secondary use they have in medicine or for nutrition. This education has also opened the way for me to determine plants and where I can get the necessary information about plants," she explains and continues: "This systematic approach also helps me well with my fruit trees, because normally there are no planting plans with references to the varieties in the orchards. It has already become a hobby for me to find out which interesting varieties can be found on my orchards".

"My Sherpa - The best thing that ever happened to me"

If you ask Luise Naderer whether it was the right decision to turn everything upside down and start all over again a good twenty years ago, the answer is clear: "Yes, because today I am healthier and freer. The special appeal of my work is that you have to accept nature as it is. You cannot plan with it you have to adapt to its conditions. In good years I have 20,000 liters of juice and in bad years only 5,000 liters," she says and explains how she wants to develop her business further: "I have also started to produce brandy. I would like to expand this further so that I can have a product for sale in bad years, after all, unlike my juice, brandy has an unlimited shelf life. In addition, I would like to offer sensory seminars in the wintertime to introduce people to the different flavours of the old apple varieties".

In conclusion, the orchardist says with satisfaction: "I have already tried out a lot, also with my Sherpa. No matter whether removing meter-high undergrowth or mowing in frost. My Sherpa goes along with everything. For my purposes there is no better vehicle on the market, the mower is the best thing that could have happened to me".

Customer report: Sherpa from AS-Motor does not give up – PDF