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TRUE LOCALS
Tessa Mellinger

von Tessa Mellinger

April 25, 2020

TRUE LOCALS

On new old paths: Farmer Simone Neuner

At the entrance to the Gaistal, the Wirtseppelerhof nestles in the idyllic landscape. The aura of the farm has a magical attraction. Simone and Matthias Neuner would never have dreamed that they would run the farm like this just a few years ago. Today, Simone, a career changer, is an organic farmer with a passion and preserves ancient knowledge about herbs.

Running the Wirtseppelerhof as a full-time business was never actually Simone and Matthias' plan. Originally, Simone studied business informatics and when she met Matthias during her studies, she wasn't really aware that he had a farm that she would one day take over. But life sometimes plays tricks on you, and so Simone became a herb educator, potato farmer, farm shop owner, landlady, mom of two, and girl for just about everything.

Simone Neuner vom Wirtseppelerhof - Traktor - Regions-Originale

Simone Neuner from Wirtseppelerhof proud next to her harvest

The great grandma knew better

Her love of herbs was once conveyed to her by her great-grandmother, who had an almost infinite knowledge of the power of nature. "This has been lost over the generations," Simone regrets. She has reacquired this knowledge and strives to preserve and pass it on. So in the summer, you can usually find her spending hours in her herb garden, planting, weeding or harvesting. And when she's not there, she's in the farm store, in the barn, in the field, in the vacation apartments, with guests, or processing her many products. Simone and Matthias' tasks are as varied as the herbs in their garden. "Here, no day is really like the other!" the two laugh. And yet they seem deeply relaxed. "I'm not always!" says Simone, "but I know the right herbs for that!" Their laughter resonates through the air, which is charged with the approaching thunderstorm.

There is no working day at the Wirtseppelerhof - fortunately! Simone and Matthias can only take a breather and a break after a long summer when the snow cover is in place.

Experiment organic farm

The two have gradually built up the various pillars of the organic farm. In general, the farm was an experiment in the beginning. After Simone's second pregnancy, she did not go back to her job as a management consultant, but devoted herself to her children and herbs. Matthias, who is actually a trained electrician, meanwhile took advantage of his paternity leave and was thus able to try out whether the farm had a future. The two agreed: "This is great!" and so the Wirtseppelerhof grew into an organic farm with a special philosophy.

"Everything you do has to be sustainable" is Simone and Matthias' guiding principle. "You can't harm nature, you can't use poisons, and you can't exploit nature." They run their suckler cow farm and agriculture according to this conviction. As a result, the cows, pigs, ducks and hens are allowed extra freedom and exercise. "Even if it's actually uneconomical, because after all, they consume much more energy when they run so much."

Haende Simone Neuner vom Wirtseppelerhof - Regions-Originale

Sustainable and organic production - potatoes from the Seefeld plateau

"We learn something throughout our lives and that is also a very important thing in agriculture. You must not close your eyes, but should continue to educate yourself and always question whether what you are doing fits," says Simone

Time for what is important

In the summer of 2019, the fact that the two can spend a lot of time with their animals was a very special advantage. "One of our cows crashed in the Rotmoos and got stuck in the mountain pines." The shepherd found the completely weakened animal. A spectacular rescue followed: by helicopter, the cow Hanni was flown down into the valley. At the Hämmermoosalm, Matthias nursed her for two days until she could return to the farm. "She's doing great again," he says happily. And more than that: in February, Hanni gave birth to her baby calf, which she fortunately did not lose even during the crash. "That was only possible because we have the time and possibilities on our farm."

Her parents also still actively help out. Cohesion is important on the generation farm. Simone's dad and Matthias' parents pitch in where needed: In the barn, in the field, in the vacation apartments, with the children. Simone and Matthias want to prove with their farm and a lot of young energy that a full-time business can also work very well today. Their goal is to keep the farm attractive for future generations and to show what can be done with agriculture. For the future, Simone is still bubbling over with ideas of what else she would like to do. "Let's see where the journey takes us!" she says calmly, and once again her joyful laughter resounds across the farm.

Simone+Neuner+vom+Wirtseppelerhof+-+Regions-Originale

Farmer Simone Neuner from Wirtseppelerhof

Simone's tips in the spring: use and harvest plants on the balcony & garden

Simone's herb garden is in full bloom in the summer. She told us a few tips on what to use in the garden and balcony now in spring. Spring is the best time of year to plant herbs and flowers, and when everything outside in nature slowly turns green and begins to bloom, we too are drawn to the gardens. But be careful: not everything can be exposed now. Not only in the high situated Leutasch it can have partly minus degrees at night or even still snow. Both would harm the tender little plants. At least until the "Ice Saints" in May, one should be careful.Before planting the more robust plants, the beds should be brought up to scratch as a first step. Clear them of weeds and provide the soil with a biological fertilizer with plenty of nutrients. The young plantlets will thank you later.Radishes, potatoes, peas and radishes as seeds tolerate the climate very well and may be used now in the garden and on the balcony.

All plants should be covered at night to protect them. Now is also already the right time to harvest roots. Especially the roots of dandelion or horseradish (horseradish) can be harvested.Tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini are cold-sensitive plants that it is better not to expose yet. The same applies to herbs, with them it is best to wait until after the Ice Saints. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, basil, chives and the like are better left in sheltered places until then.

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As soon as it stops freezing at night, the young plants can be planted.

Simone's recipes for health: In search of herbs in nature

Especially in times like these, our immune system needs an extra boost and we crave time out in nature more than ever. Simone has two recipes for us, with which you can harness the healing powers of nature during a relaxing walk.

Dandelion buds as a substitute for capers

Dandelion is anything but a weed, but even really healthy. It is immune-stimulating, anti-inflammatory, metabolism-stimulating, blood-cleansing, mobilizing and helps with headaches - to name just a few of its healing properties. All parts of the dandelion can be used: the flowers, buds, leaves and roots. Simone likes to collect the very small buds that form in the middle of the leaves. It is very important that the buds do not have a stalk yet. Once they have a stalk attachment, they form the little barbs. It is also important to collect only away from dog runs or dog walking routes, away from busy roads and in unfertilized meadows. The delicious, tender buds are pickled in apple cider vinegar with a little water, sugar, honey and salt immediately after picking. In this way they can be enjoyed like capers, making them excellent in salads, snacks and many other recipes. A tea made from the dandelion leaves is also a real energy booster in spring: simply boil a few fresh or dried leaves with hot water and enjoy the tea.

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The perfect time to harvest the dandelion buds

Nettle as an energy booster in spring

Another great plant is the nettle. It is also known as a tonic plant in the spring. The list of its effects is long: among other things, the nettle stimulates the metabolism, aids digestion, cleanses and stitches the blood, lowers blood sugar and purifies. It helps with stress, fatigue, exhaustion, poor performance and memory. Simone knows: if the stinging nettle had no painful nettles, it would have been eradicated long ago, because it has such great healing effects! Whether powdered, fresh or dried as a tea, in herbal salt or in herb butter, nettle can be used in many ways. Also, you can make a decoction for plants in the garden, balcony and house with it and strengthen them - a natural organic fertilizer so. You can use everything from the leaf to the root of the nettle. When harvesting, the same applies as with all plants you want to use: collect away from dog runs or dog walking routes, away from busy roads and on unfertilized meadows. With the nettle it is also advisable to wear a pair of gloves to avoid stinging yourself on the (the name already gives it away) burning nettles.

Der Wirtseppelerhof

Der Wirtseppelerhof

The Wirtseppelerhof in Leutasch has three vacation apartments for an idyllic vacation in the middle of nature. Simone and Matthias like to show their guests their life on the farm and Simone, a trained herbalist, gives herb tours. The farm store sells the products they make themselves: "We only want to offer healthy products from our own cultivation!". So you can find eggs, seasonal vegetables, potatoes, sausages, syrups, teas, herbal tinctures, gifts and much more in organic quality in the store. There are also tomato and lettuce plants in the farm store. The farm store is open 24 hours and sees itself as a self-service farm store.

At the Leutasch Advent Market, Simone and Matthias sell their delicious home-grown potato spirali and hot elder in winter. So a stop at their stand is definitely worth it!

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