Organic farmer - Kaltenbachhof
“Bodybuilding for useful insects.“
I took over the Kaltenbach farm in Parcines from my father in 2014. I then knew for sure: I can either live off agriculture or I do something else. I didn’t want to become a part-time farmer because I was already flirting with the idea of organic production, which in my view only makes sense if you are a full-time farmer. In organic production, you have to be in the right place at the right time. Producing great apples with just a few substances allowed means availability on call. If nature calls, we have to be ready. There is no “I can also do that tomorrow” in organic production.
I got more and more fascinated by typical methods of organic production during my training at the Fürstenburg agricultural college, during orchard inspections with experts and when talking with friends. I call it “bodybuilding for useful insects“. That’s my very personal umbrella term for all the tricks in the orchards to strengthen hoverflies, ladybirds, bees, birds and other little helpers as best as possible. That’s why we build nesting boxes for birds to keep apple codling moths in check. We allow the grass to grow between the rows until it blossoms, because only blossoming tractor lanes attract useful insects and only mow these grasses when they no longer bloom. Certain useful insects are particularly attracted by so-called sowings of certain plants. If earwigs and proctotrupid wasps feel at ease, harmful woolly apple aphids won’t have an easy life in our orchards.
Many useful insects protect our Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Pinova, Red Delicious and Bonita apples during the whole vegetation period. Useful insects are not only a blessing for apple trees, but also for berry bushes and home-raised vegetables and herbs. They have grown so well in recent years with many more fruits than our family could eat that my mother Josefine and I decided to open a small farm shop because throwing away is no option for me. So we offer juices, jams, stewed fruit, teas, sweets, etc. at a fair price at our “Kaltenbachhof“ agritourism farm, whereas our crunchy apples are marketed by the cooperative.
The guests of our four apartments can experience at close quarters how an organic farm works. This also includes regular and independent leaf, soil and fruit samples as well as the general willingness to watch nature patiently to learn from it.
Where I live
The bittersweet lady
Beauty meets acidity: This bright and smooth crossover between Topaz & Cripps Pink makes the pests stay away, therefore, it is especially popular in organic farming.
January - May
opaque radiant red colour on creamy background, homogeneous shape, very smooth shell
juicy and crunchy bite
aromatic with pronounced acidity
The elegant precocity
The tasty gala appears every summer in its reddish yellow shell and the new apple season begins.
September - March
smooth shell, spherical shape, slightly conical, pale yellow base colour with bright red and striped cover
crispy and juicy with firm pulp
refreshing, sweet with little acidity
The classic delicious
Golden Delicious is our main variety and, therefore, the queen of Val Venosta apples. That the most popular apple has a real quality, can be seen in its lovely red cheek. By the way, this is typical of fruits on a hillside.
October - September
greenish yellow to golden yellow
juicy with very fine and soft pulp
sweet with delicate acidity
The Val Venosta resistant
The Pinova with its red vermilion-red skin is a typical apple of Val Venosta. Not only is it colourful, it also has a very balanced flavour. Thanks to its long durability, it offers you unlimited fruit enjoyment until the summer season.
January - July
Bicolour, yellow to greenish, at least 30% of the fruit is covered with a bright vermilion colour
refreshing with very crisp, juicy and firm pulp
Balanced proportion of sugar and acid
The beautiful acid
Topaz makes biting the sour apple worthy! The aromatic fruit impresses with a pleasant acidity and is also a common variety in organic farming.
January - May
basic yellow tone with red striped components, round shape with flattened calyx