Harvesting methods have a direct impact on product quality. The local Tibetans taught us the traditional method of berry harvesting, which we follow to this day. It may be old fashioned, but it is the kindest to the plant and the local eco-system. And the best part, traditional harvesting techniques ensure the highest nutrient value for Sibu Sea Buckthorn.
Our harvesters go out during the early morning hours before sunrise when the sea buckthorn berries are the most plump and nutrient dense. They lay colorful blankets down below the branches of the thorny shrubs and then the harvesters use a wooden stick or staff to shake the branches. The ripe berries fall to the blankets, while the unripe fruit remain on the plant to ripen in the sun. The plant is left unharmed and plenty of fruit is left over for the indigenous animals to feed.
The fruit laden blankets are gathered and the berries are poured into carrying packs to be brought back to the processing plant located up in the Himalayan valley and processed that day to protect the nutrients.
Unfortunately, not all companies take such great care in the harvesting of sea buckthorn. The typical method used harms the plants and saps the berries of their vitality. Quite often harvesting will take place during the heat of the day when the plant is at its weakest. Branches are hacked off, taking unripe fruit along with it. The branches are then frozen for shipment and processed after the berries have been brought to room temperature. Have you tried thawing frozen berries? The juices seep from the fruit, creating a soup around the mushy berries. This may make a great topping for a dessert, but it is a travesty when it comes to capturing nutrients for a consumer product. Most nutrients are lost before processing even begins.
Not all sea buckthorn is created equal. Here at Sibu, we respect the environment and go to great lengths to protect the quality of our harvesting methods and our sea buckthorn.