BIO Organic Producer – s´Bergschlössl
“The work in the orchards is like a holiday.“
The apples are ripe and ready to harvest
A quick apple break
The apples are the right size
Preparing for the harvest
An organic apple orchard in a very special location
Gerd Stecher calls his farm "s´Bergschlössl" (which means "the mountain castle" in dialect), and he is not exaggerating. It stands at 1,100 metres above sea level and only a few steps away from the mediaeval Schlandersberg Castle. There is a natural habitat close by. Paths following ancient "Waalweg" irrigation channels criss-cross the fields, and forest peacefully spreads out over the mountain cliffs of the Monte Sole, high above the market town of Silandro. The Stecher family have been working at the farm for four generations now. They have an unusually large number of strings to their bow: livestock, farmstay holidays, and a taxi and car hire service all help to make the economics of the organic apple farming work. Tending the orchards is like a holiday compared to the other businesses, says Gerd, who farms Golden Delicious organically. The orchards around the farmhouse are slightly sloping which gives them an exceptional exposure to the sun's rays. The weather conditions at this altitude can be harsh and this also influences the ripening process, making the apples extra crisp. Gerd has been farming according to organic guidelines since 2008 as, he says, "nature should stay natural".