Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Trip To The Farms

One of the best things about where I live is how close we are to "The Farms." Our neighborhood is on the outskirts of Heidelberg. Makes getting into the Altstadt take a few minutes, but we can walk to the "The Farms" in less than ten.

"The Farms" (I don't know what the Germans call "The Farms," that's just the name us Americans have used for the collection of, well, farms that border our neighborhood) are a group of homes on one little strasse that have kilometers of farmland around them. They grow all their produce right there. In the winter you can get apples, potatoes, onions, and an assortment of winter vegetables. They keep their produce in deep, cold, dark cellars (dungeons!) for months and it stays fresh and they slowly bring it out to sell. Of course, in the summer there is much more to buy. But winter pickins ain't so bad.

One of the little farmhouses.

This is my favorite farm. Why? Because its the first one I went to and I like familiarity.

Some of the farms have fresh baked artisan breads that they bake in a stone fired oven. Some farms have non-pasteurized milk (yuck! No thanks. Pasteurize please!) from their cows out back. I have heard an ugly rumor that Europeans think Americans are weird for our reluctance to drink fresh, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk. I wouldn't call that weird. I would call that not wanting to get listeria poisoning. But that's just me. Give me pasteurization or give me death! Hey, I stand up for what I believe in.

At some farms you can buy eggs that were laid that morning. I don't have a problem with that.

Here is the apple assortment. This farm's prices are €1,50 for 1 kg of apples. And they have seven kinds. And they are all the same price so you can mix your bag. And they are organischen, or organic. Or Bio-Produkte. Look for those two words. The farms that I visit have small plastic bags for you to use to carry your produce. But not all farms will. Be prepared with a reusable bag, purse, or back pack to carry your produce home in.

The winter selection of vegetables. 

The best part really is the prices. Back in the States, if there were some hippy-dippy organic farmers who sold their produce out behind their house, they would charge you an arm and a leg. And probably extol the benefits of medical marijuana or not bathing to you. But here, small farmers are much cheaper than the grocery stores, seeing as how they don't have to pay the huge amount of the cost of gas (about $8.50 a gallon after all the conversions) to transport the fruits and veggies. Or charge the VAT (value added tax) which is around 18% and makes everything expensive in Europe. Go small German farmers! (Their farms are small, I didn't necessarily mean the actual farmers are small.)

If you are traveling to Germany and want to experience the small farm, ask a local, "Wo ist ein Bauernhof, wo ich Bio-Produkte kaufen können?" Which is "Where is a farm where I can buy organic produce?" 

I love going to my small farm. They don't speak English, and I really don't speak German so we get along great with smiles and awkward apologies. When my total reaches numbers I don't know very well, (1-29 is all my ear can really understand right now) they write the price down and point. It's a great system.

This isn't really related to the whole small farm bit, but there is a Christmas tree farm nearby. It just makes me giggle in some completely irrational way. In a land that is covered with trees (Germany has a lot of trees) they actually grow some for Christmas trees. They clear off the natural pine trees that grow there, and then plant new pine trees in orderly rows and wait for them to get to a size they want. 

Those orderly pine trees are the farmed Christmas trees. That dark line above them is the forest that grows right up next to the farm. I guess they can't see the forest for the trees, or something like that.




  1. Is there spargel?

    1. There is spargel out there! What is spargel? White asparagus. And the Germans love it.

  2. That is pretty darn cool, you get to go to a real farm for produce! Sometimes if I go really late at night, I get to see animals where I buy my produce too, he, he he!


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