The Friesenhof and our farm shop "Kleine Schäferei" are located on the North Sea island of Pellworm. My wife grew up on the Friesenhof and now we run it together. Since we have placed our focus on extensive and natural sheep farming, we christened our farm shop "Kleine Schäferei".
Pellworm, the green island, is located in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park and is known for its diverse and rich birdlife. The whole island is just below sea level and is protected all around by an 8 meter high dyke. Sheep farming on the island is immensely important for dyke maintenance. Because only sheep care for the turf of the dyke as desired and trample the ground with their hooves so that the storms in autumn and winter do not damage it. Our shepherd colleague Torben runs his sheep farm as extensively as we do and is therefore a good partner for us. As a true North Frisian, he doesn't attach importance to certifications, but trusts his gut feeling for sheep and nature, so that all animals on the dyke are doing well. His flock includes around 500 ewes.
Christina and I have been running the Friesenhof for 13 years now. At that time, we came back to the island from Hamburg because we couldn't imagine life with children in the big city. Children need freedom and they can enjoy it carefree here. In addition, life here is slower and much closer to the rhythm of nature. We believe that living and working with nature is good for us. It doesn't bother us that (almost) every day of the year is a working day.
In addition to agriculture, the island also receives tourism. That is why, in addition to farming, we also run a guesthouse.
Pellworm receives enough rain throughout the year to not need irrigation. Our heavy marsh soils are also excellent at storing water and supplying the plants with water even during longer periods of drought.
We have been managing our farm according to organic farming criteria since 2018 and are currently certified according to the EU organic standard. We are committed to protecting native meadow birds. As ground breeders, these birds are often exposed to many dangers from predators and agricultural machinery. We look for their nests and protect them with wire baskets and appropriate markings. It has been proven that biodiversity on organically farmed areas is significantly greater and more diverse than on conventionally farmed areas. This is also one of the reasons why we chose this path. No pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used on our land. Weeds, such as thistles, are cut out by hand.
In summary, one can say: We run our farm organically, close to nature, with grazing, as a family business and with respect for our sheep, who give us so much.
A photovoltaic system is installed on the roof of our sheep-pen, and we use most of the electricity to supply ourselves. We also use the self-generated solar power for heating during the cold months.
The sheep farm is run purely as a family business. During the busy lambing season, the whole family helps to look after the sheep and lambs. Our children Sören, David, Marie and Catharina are responsible for the bottle lambs. Grandpa Martin feeds the concentrated feed and I, the shepherd Sönke, look after the births, do the night shifts and feed the hay.
When shearing sheep, we sort out contaminated and inferior wool (e.g. felted wool from the belly) directly. We use this wool as long-term fertilizer in our vegetable garden.