Jenever (fruit gin) for conservation purposes
Volunteers of Natuurpunt Limburg working in Diepenbeek and Haspengouw had the desire to financially contribute towards the protection and observation of the European tree frog (Hyla arboreal) and the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus).
European tree frog and garden Dormouse: from concept to end product
The European tree frog is a small bright green frog with a body length between 3 and 5 centimeters. Typical for the tree frog is its preferred summer hiding place: blackberry bushes. Their habitat is located in the Northern part of the Belgian Limburg province.
Having in mind the frog’s hiding place, the idea to develop an alcoholic beverage made with blackberries took shape. Natuurpunt Limburg started its search for a producer and identified the local traditional Jenever distillery ’t Stookkot in Hasselt. Natuurpunt Limburg knew them because they produce organically and because of the distillery’s short supply chain approach in relation to agriculture. For instance, the distillery only uses grain from local agrarians that leave 10% of the total grain harvest untouched for the benefit of farmland birds. ’t Stookkot had never before produced a fruit gin made with blackberries, but the pilot run was well received. Therefore, a first round of production was realised in 2016. The Lookvoske is a completely biological beverage, made from biological grans and biological blackberries.
Blackberry bushes and other brush woods are not only important for the habitat of the European tree frog but also for the garden dormouse. The garden dormouse is found in the Southern part of the Limburg province, and therefore it was decided to develop two different labels of blackberry fruit gin. Garden dormouses are not protected on European level. However, these small rodents are a vulnerable species and are present on Flanders’ Red List of Threatened Animals. The Natura 2000 areas are of great importance for the conservation of the garden dormouse.
European tree frog: Francois Vanbouwel
Garden dormouse: Jos Ramaekers