On Monday, Coop Pank was launched, and the first clients were able to apply for Coop bank cards. At the bank launch event, Margus Rink, Chairman of the Management Board, and Hans Pajoma, Head of Business Banking, participated in a festive ceremony to hand over Coop Pank’s first bank card, which Silvi Langus, the lady in charge of Taarapõllu Farm, had specifically driven up from Võru County to collect. In this blog post, Silvi talks about her work and the Taarapõllu venture in greater detail.
On Taarapõllu Farm, tasty juices and jams have been made for years already. Edgar Kolts and Tiina Langus started their business in 2004; today, the management of the farm has been taken over by Tiina’s daughter, Silvi Langus. Taarapõllu Farm was one of the first businesses in Estonia to take advantage of the opportunity to place products made in one’s home kitchen on the market officially.
“I joined the Taarapõllu team in 2010,” notes Silvi Langus, the lady in charge of Taarapõllu, its Chief Executive and Management Board Member, and added that the company, which started out as a family business, now employs seven people.
Silvi Langus, the lady in charge of Taarapõllu Farm, was Coop Pank’s first client. Photograph by: Ardo Kaljuvee
What does Taarapõllu Farm grow?
Taarapõllu Farm lies on the slopes of the hills in the Village of Kangsti in Võru County. The farm has blackcurrant, redcurrant, raspberry, Japanese quince and strawberry plantations, officially certified for organic production. In addition, Taarapõllu grows apples, chokeberries, sea buckthorn berries, herbs and rhubarb organically.
When home-grown raw material is not enough, certified organic output is purchased from other farms or sourced from natural areas of forest inspected and officially certified by the Agricultural Board.
Taarapõllu products are turned out in the Village of Kangsti in Võru County
Berry chips unique in the world
Taarapõllu’s best known products are berry chips, unique in the world. “We were the first to launch these chips in Estonia, and no exactly the same product is made elsewhere in the world. Berry chips are my personal favourite and also our best-selling product. We produce them in 10 different flavours,” Silvi said.
Production of berry chips is a fairly complicated process. First, whole berries are crushed in a special mill, then sugar is mixed in, and the mass is processed mechanically in several different stages. Then, chips move into a dryer operating in a special mode, and products will be ready in 12 to 24 hours. Essentially, berry chips are concentrated natural berries with a slight addition of organic sugar. “It is an ideal healthy snack or sweet, which has become a favourite with people wishing to provide themselves or their children with healthier sweets instead of lollies or to complement their breakfast flakes with something tasty and healthy. Because of their convenient and light packaging, berry chips are very convenient to take with you; often, they are taken abroad as a present,” the lady in charge of Taarapõllu elaborated.
In addition to berry chips, Taarapõllu produces jams and purées, pure juices, juice drinks and syrups and berry powders. The farm is recognised for organic processing, and all its products are marked with eco-labels.
Products from Taarapõllu Farm
How does production happen on Taarapõllu Farm?
At Taarapõllu, production happens year-round, and raw material harvested during the summer season is stored by deep-freezing it. The own addition to berries is organic sugar. As a result, products contain no allergens and are also suited for young children.
To produce juice, berries removed from the freezer are slowly defrosted and then pressed using a cold-press method. Jams are made using the so-called granny’s method. Carefully cleaned and picked-over berries are placed inside a cauldron, froth is separated by heating slowly, a little sugar is added, and then jams are sealed in air-tight containers. For purées, first the skins and seeds of berries are removed. When berry powders are made, some of the juice is separated, with the rest dried and ground to a powder.
Collaboration with Coop Pank
“Our collaboration began in 2013, when our company became a business client of Eesti Krediidipank. For our family, it is very important that Coop Pank exists in Võru County. It makes it easier to run our business, and representatives of the bank have always been there for us in case of any need. In addition, I also use the services of Coop Pank as a private client,” Silvi Langus pointed out.
The branches, banking points and banking stations of Coop Pank are located at Coop shops across Estonia. In the spring of 2018, the option of withdrawing cash from the cash registers of all the 350 Coop shops will be added.
Launched on the market in early October, the Estonian Coop Pank combines banking and retail trade. The priorities of Coop Pank include regional presence. Local companies like Taarapõllu Farm carry the same values as Coop Pank, changing life for the better in small towns, creating jobs there and providing value for all Estonia through their unique, healthy and tasty products.
Coop Pank brings the bank closer to people’s homes, providing daily banking services at Coop shops across Estonia. For example, you can open a bank account or apply for a credit card or a small loan at the banking points at Coop shops. The Coop bank card provides discounts at Coop shops, and from spring next year, cash may be withdrawn from the cash registers of all Coop shops, which number approximately 1000 across Estonia.
The majority shareholder in Coop Pank is Coop Eesti, Estonia’s largest group engaged in the sales of food and convenience goods, which consists of 19 regional consumer co-operatives and which has 350 shops and nearly 600 000 regular clients.