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Knoll Erich

Organic apricot farmer - Gurtenhof

„You can call me apricot doctor, if you want.“

My story

I teach law and economics at the high school. The Gurtenhof farm in Tesimo near Merano is my wife’s realm. She renovated the historic farm from the 14th century that fascinates our farm holiday guests again and again. She has the correct feel for our guests’ wishes, whereas I have the right feeling for our organic apricots. We cultivate them in Val Venosta, which is predestined for the cultivation of apricots and where I inherited land from my father in Naturno.

Many sneered at me when I wanted to grow apricot trees in the old apple orchards many years ago. The consultants were very skeptical and predicted that frost would destroy everything at the Monte Tramontana side of the village. I didn’t, however, want to change my mind and stubbornly stuck to my decision. Val Venosta’s sandy soils are, after all, known for being the ideal underground for these orange velvet fruits. Apricot trees don’t want to stand in a puddle and these sandy soils are somehow always dry, even when it rains. So I interpreted the skepticism of many consultants as cautious optimism and was successful. I got precious tips from the association of Val Venosta apricots. Today, I cultivate apricots of the Orange Red and Gold Rich varieties. They both have a healthy growth and are very resistant varieties.

The conversion to organic was no big step, as we had never used many pesticides. I harvest my apricots in June, July and August during my summer holidays. Students, teachers and many pensioners help me at harvest time. It’s a very “academic group” that does not only talk shop but can also work hard. Our guests also see the apricot harvest as a highlight. They taste our jam that can hardly be surpassed thanks to Val Venosta’s intense aroma and even help with pitting apricots. I’ve merited the title of „doctor pruni honoris causa“ over the years and nobody laughs at the decision that I took more than twenty years ago any longer.

Where I live



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