Eichenau  Peppermint Museum

Cultivation, harvest and drying

Former tea hall in Eichenau

The peppermint demands a special, light ground in a moist site. Because the weed has to be removed by hand, the cultivation is very labor intensive.

In spring 10cm deep furrows 40-60cm apart are drawn in which the roots are laid and covered with humus. In May the plants sprout and with them the weed.

The right timing of the harvest is decisive for keeping the healing power and the aroma. Even the time of day is important. When being harvested a plant must not be wet. And one must not harvest too much because the plant has to be dried immediately and can not be stored.

The harvest itself is very labor intensive. In the past a knife was used, later a special scythe (exhibited in the museum); and then above all machines.

When the plants are cut they must be processed as fast as possible. After passing the chaff-machine the stalk is cut from the leaves in the so-called windmill. (All devices mentioned are shown in the museum.)

While in the beginning the drying of the plants was done on so-called "Rupfendecken" (a kind of blanket), the mint was later dried on "Horden" (wire screens, put in crates).

The tea farmers of Eichenau perfected this system with tea halls that allowed the optimal drying of the plant by a clever ventilation system.