Our "Bio Dió" walnut plantation, which has been ecologically certified since 2006, is located on the edge of the village of Osli (pronounced "Oshly") near the Austrian-Hungarian border.
Biodió is the Hungarian name for organic walnut. This is the short name of our plantation. Denise & Sandy Kft is the name of the farm, named after the founder's two youngest children - my two youngest siblings.
Vienna is about 120 km away. In the north we are bordering the cultural landscape Fertö (UNESCO World Heritage), known for its variety of water birds, as well as its diverse flora and fauna.
The area owes its fertile farmland to the very balanced climate and the frequent rainfalls. If you drive through the villages around Osli, you will see miles of green landscape: meadows, agricultural land and beautiful old avenues along the roads. Particularly striking are the large bird nests in the masts, which are inhabited by stork families in spring, as well as herds of deer, numerous birds of prey and rabbits which can be observed throughout the year.
Once you have crossed the village of Osli with its picturesque church, a road leads to our walnut farm, with its regular dense rows of trees. There are three buildings on the farm: the processing hall with our modern machinery for peeling, washing and drying nuts during the four weeks of harvest, and two warehouses.
In spring the plantation offers a special view. The flowering of the walnut trees makes them look like green cotton wool puffs, while wild flowers can grow unhindered on the ground, because the walnut blossom should not be disturbed by mowing machines. During the day you can only hear the buzzing of the insects and at night you can see a fantastic star-covered sky.
In summer it is hot in Osli and our trees have to be watered diligently with a water truck. A young tree needs 60-80 litres of water per week. Grown trees are watered with approx. 100 l per tree during very dry periods. We improve the soil structure by aerating the soil to use the water more efficiently. We obtain the water from the Hungarian waterworks. As we work according to the organic farming method, we mow the grass between the trees and do not spray.
In late autumn we bring out cow dung, which smells good, but sticks very stubbornly to the shoes, should you be walking through our tree rows. The harvest is due in autumn. We use vibrating harvesting machines that shake the walnuts from the trees onto a collection foil. Furthermore, we have fruit collection machines and also collect by hand. You can watch the harvest between our walnut trees and get an impression of our plant in the video on this page. We sell discarded walnuts as animal feed and give away shells for firing fireplaces to employees or people on site. We sort the nuts on the assembly line and sort out the dark or visibly damaged nuts. In addition, empty shells are removed with air pressure. We compost tree cuttings and leaves with the aim of producing compost tea (a liquid produced during composting which is often used in organic farming for plant protection or as fertiliser).
Some of the 8,000 trees are planted on nearby farmland, 15 minutes away by car, close to the village of Bogyoszló. We also set up a small reed biotope at the edge of the plantation, giving new value to very moist zones where our trees don’t grow well - a perfect habitat for beneficial insects. Next to the biotope we hang birdhouses and insect hotels on the trees.
In the future we are considering using the area between our trees better by sowing wildflowers and integrating beehives.
We are also planning to use solar cells in the near future.
The economic situation in the Hungarian countryside is not good. Our farm is located on the Austrian border. As a result, many young people are working as guest workers in factories in Austria, because the earnings there are very high compared to Hungary. This in turn creates a labour shortage in Hungary. Guest workers have few rights and even less security. Our philosophy is to maintain an excellent and loyal team on the plantation through fair wages, continuous training and sustainability. We also support the Hungarian economy by buying as few products as possible from abroad, even if some of them are more easily accessible. Our company is the most important employer in Osli. My five employees receive a salary far above the legal minimum wage and, depending on the harvest, commissions per year. We promote team building measures and allow our employees exceptional flexibility. The work is varied. We have an occupational safety officer who regularly conducts training courses and monitors the company. During the harvest we employ local harvest workers, even if guest workers would be cheaper in Hungary.