Rosenfeld translates as “rose field”, a fittingly symbolic name for the new plant laboratory and the second medicinal herb garden. The small locality of Rosenfeld is situated in the Zollernalb district near Balingen, to the west of the Swabian Alps. On a sunny autumn day, we reach the “Fischermühle” grounds, idyllically located amid green meadows and woods. The absence of a signal on our mobile phones can also be taken as symbolic of the mood here, shielded from the hectic world, somehow connected with a calm rhythm of its own. The plant laboratory is in good, like-minded company on the grounds: neighbouring company Helixor Heilmittel GmbH & Co. KG produces anthroposophic medicines from mistletoe and Christmas rose, while Mellifera e. V. works to promote natural, sustainable and ecological beekeeping.
But what made WALA (Dr. Hauschka Parent Company) decide to build a second plant laboratory with an adjoining garden? As group head Dr. Christian Reichle explains: “Firstly, having an additional location reduces the risk of harvest failures. Secondly, it is always around two degrees cooler in Rosenfeld than at the company headquarters in Eckwälden. This difference in temperature creates a time buffer in harvesting and processing.” At the beginning of the “Rosenfeld” project, an in-depth analysis was made of the work processes in WALA’s plant laboratory, which was already in existence at the time. Christian Reichle and various planning groups took many months to complete this analysis. The finished concept included, among other things, a separate room for each processing step – from cleansing or sorting the plants to illuminating or stirring the extracts. There was also a particular focus on sustainable construction materials such as wood, on low-energy construction and on a modern, sophisticated ventilation system. Reichle: “It was also important for us that the look of the new building should fit well with the existing facilities at Fischermühle.”
The ground-breaking ceremony took place on 8 May 2013. With a building area of 1,950 m², the construction project took 13 months, cost €4.4 million and involved ten planning offices, 27 different skilled trades and around 120 people in all. In future, the Rosenfeld plant laboratory will produce aqueous fermented medicinal plant extracts for WALA Medicines and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. As Christian Reichle explains: “At present, there are seven of us – and, incidentally, we have all worked in Eckwälden at some point”. The team is to be increased to 15 at a later date.
While skilled tradespersons are still at work on the outside of the new building – for instance, electricians are currently putting the finishing touches to the outside lighting – the actual work has already begun inside. “We processed plants for the first time on 11 August 2014”, reports team member Sibylle Baasner. Calendula, marjoram, eyebright, rose-hip and chestnut were the first plants processed in Rosenfeld.
We enter the new building through the incoming goods area – the same route taken by the medicinal herbs after harvesting. The processing rooms are light and spacious, with high windows looking out onto the surrounding green landscapes and the medicinal herb garden. The walls are painted a shade of purple called “peach blossom”, one that has a special significance in an anthroposophic context. As we go on into the scullery, we ask ourselves where the oniony smell is coming from. “We processed Allium cepa this morning”, admits Christian Reichle with a laugh, and shows us two further rooms where the pressing, filtering and incineration take place. We take in the impressive glass flasks of the distillation apparatus and the in-process control technology in the laboratory. Awaiting us at the end of the corridor is the illumination and shielding room, situated in a round extension and kept deliberately separate from the rest of the building. As Christian Reichle explains: “This is where we work with the plant extracts – shielding, illuminating and stirring them.” The room’s natural stone floor conveys a closeness to nature, and the floor-to-ceiling windows let in ample light. Impressive and suitably calm surroundings for such an important part of the process.
There is still plenty of planning to be done before regular operations can begin fully in 2015. “At the moment, we are developing the garden concept for the coming year”, explains Christian Reichle. Gardener Paul Kowollik and his colleagues from Eckwälden interact on a regular basis: Which medicinal plants do we want to cultivate and process? How much green manure does the loamy soil need? And which plants attract wild bees? No, in spite of all the quiet and seclusion, there is no danger of life getting dull in Rosenfeld.
Text: Elisabeth Menzel
Since 1967 Dr. Hauschka has been devoted to creating skin care formulations from Nature. Our efficacy is based on our unique skin care philosophy, unique rhythmic process and the highest quality natural ingredients with a preference for biodynamic, organic or responsibly wild harvested sources. The result: healthy, balanced, strengthened and radiant skin!
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