The “Mostviertler Bio-Kürbishof Metz” is still relatively young - but not the farm, the house, the agriculture!
The history of our „Vierkanthof“ goes back several centuries. We know our ancestors by name until 1630, but there are indications that agriculture was already practiced here in Roman times.
My grandparents' life's work was to build our new farmhouse. At that time mainly grassland with cattle and dairy farming was practiced. My parents shifted the focus of their business to pig farming and agriculture. And we came up with the idea of growing pumpkins and switched the farm to organic in 2015. Our farm is located in the middle of the rolling hills of the Mostviertel and belongs to the municipality of Haag, Heimberg, Lower Austria. Geographically, we are on the border with Upper Austria - more precisely between Vienna and Salzburg. Our fields are framed by old rows of pear trees, which are very typical of our region and offer a natural spectacle in the spring during the flowering period.
In addition to the variety of pumpkins, our fields also grow cereals and field beans, as well as other oil plants such as rapeseed, linseed and hemp, from which we press cold-pressed oils. Our region is characterized by grafting - the farmers keep pigs, cattle, dairy cows, chickens - the deep, loamy fields provide the fodder for the animals. In many cases, however, the farmers are also sidelined or look for niches such as direct marketing or through services such as the use of machinery outside of the company. Our farm has also changed over time due to different orientations. Each generation has always adapted what suits the resources, what can be marketed well, but above all what suits the people who were or are in business, what interests them, what gives them pleasure, what they are good at. I have been at our company since I was born and I am impressed by how much it has always adapted. We had cows, bulls, chickens, pigs - at the moment we are concentrating on agriculture and the direct marketing of crops and our stables are (almost) empty - apart from the two pigs and 16 chickens for our own supply.
Water: On the subject of water supply, we can say with great happiness and gratitude that we do not have to irrigate our fields, because the rainfall has still come in the right amount at the right time, which has become increasingly critical in recent years. For our drinking water supply we have our own well with the best groundwater quality.
Operations management: Our company has been certified organic since 2018. We know that our soil and the soil organisms living in it are our most valuable asset that needs to be protected and promoted. For this, we pay attention to an appropriate crop rotation as well as a year round green cover with catch crops. Harvest residues are worked into the soil so that earthworms and microorganisms are well fed and cared for. The weed regulation happens depending on the culture through repeated use of weeder or hoe, by hand as well as by undersowing. On the edges of the field, grass strips grow around rows of trees that are home to beneficial organisms and birds.
We use renewable energy through a photovoltaic system on the roof of our warehouse, generate our hot water with a solar system and heat our house with wood chips from our own forest.
Work at the company: The main work of our company is done by our family. My father and my husband take care of the work in the field and the maintenance of the machines, my mother and I do the maintenance, processing and marketing. Every year 2-3 holiday interns from agricultural schools help us with pumpkin harvesting and care, and we offer them the opportunity to gain insight into the various areas on our farm. Our helpers are paid according to the applicable employment contracts and may also live with us.
Waste: In the Oil Pumpkin harvest, only the pumpkin seeds are harvested. The flesh remains on the field and becomes valuable feed for the soil organisms and later for humus. After washing and drying, the pumpkin seeds can be pressed directly into pumpkin seed oil. For the nibble kernels, they are subjected to a sorting, where the not so beautiful or broken kernels are sorted out and then come back to the oil product. This means that every part of the Oil Pumpkin is used in a valuable way.