This farm has been owned by the Kolb family for many generations. In 2005, Josef took over the business from his father and became head of operations.
In 2015, we decided to use our ideas to jointly bring the business into the future and to produce sustainable, valuable food that supplies the region.
The farm's name, "Schluchtenbauer" ("canyon farmers"), describes the location of the farm very well. Nestled in the beautiful hilly landscape in Vorau at the end of the outlet of a gorge lies our farm – therefore somewhat hidden, of course, and in a very quiet location. We enjoy the harmony with nature and the view of the Wechsel mountain range every day. You could say that it's in the back of beyond!
On our farm tour, you will not only pass by the aronia bushes, but also the younger plantations, such as the common pawpaws, almond trees and blueberry bushes. The path continues further over the cereal fields, with crops such as buckwheat, spelt and hemp, and also over a potato field, through the forest, and back to the farm. Many plants, such as nettles, ribwort, lady's mantle, thistles, daisies and numerous other medicinal herbs that are only mowed once a year, can be found on the uncultivated meadows and edges of the fields. Often, we have even discovered wasp spiders and the black carpenter bee, which are protected species, in the cultivated plantations. Some beehives are placed directly in the aronia plantation by a local beekeeper, and the bees help pollinate the flowers. There are also other farmers and agricultural enterprises around our farm's piece of land, most of them working in the dairy industry.
About 7km away from us is __Vorau__, a place with a good 6,000 inhabitants. The regional supply of food is very important to the people here, and awareness is growing more and more, especially among the younger generations. Families are increasingly starting to buy sustainably and, at least, organically. It is also a place where many new commercial companies are setting up – both small and large – thus creating more and more jobs for the residents. Vorau is also known as the 'healthy region", and there are many paths to discover: whether as a hiker, runner or Nordic walker, on horseback or by bike. In winter, for example, with the wonderful contemplative ambience of the "Joglland Advent" in the Vorau open-air museum, which lies away from all the kitsch and shopping stress. Here, visitors are offered atmospheric events and culinary delicacies from the region. A trip to Vorau is also definitely worth it in the other seasons, to enjoy undiscovered spots of various natural spectacles.
We run our business as a family business, and, so, when it comes to intensive periods of peak working, such as the harvest time or cultivation time, a lot of helping hands get stuck in. On average, there are two of us throughout the year. Our helpers are satisfied with payment in kind with natural produce, and are delighted to be able to choose from a variety of products.
We get the water for our agriculture from our own spring on our piece of land. Many studies have shown that water is a carrier of vibrations, and this philosophy has fascinated us enormously. That is why we have been working with the vibration devices from "Visiona Wasser" on the farm for three years. Visiona is used in a wide variety of forms, whether as fertiliser, for crop protection, in the home or for the animals. The bushes of the aronia berries do not need their own irrigation system. If there is not enough rain during the flowering season or around the ripening time of the berries, we are happy to support the plants with irrigation.
We will carry out the first bare prune of our aronia bushes this autumn. This involves cutting off the bushes of half the plantation at ground level and processing them into wood chips. These wood chips are used as fertiliser for the remaining aronia plants or as heating material for the house. The rejected harvest is also sent to composting.
We are an organic farm that has created its own resolutions and philosophies beyond just these guidelines. In the closed-loop economy on our farm, we, as farmers, want to act as a guide for nature by making small changes; everything else, we leave to the fauna and flora to do. This creates a cycle that nourishes and feeds itself from a wide variety of perspectives. An example: the grass between the aronia bushes is used as fertiliser after mulching, or as fodder for the animals on the farm. Due to unmowed mowing strips and our attitude to minimalist maintenance of the landscape, we encourage many insects and plants to settle, which create a balance in the cycle of beneficial pests. Over winter, birds pick up surplus from the aronia harvests or berries that have not made the selection.
We – Josef and Regina – see ourselves as the farmers, or as the__ guardians on the farm__.