We are faced with a long expanse of green. The apple trees start further back, with sufficient distance from their neighbouring plants. A row of shrubs and trees fences them in, providing additional protection. Various native shrubs and trees grow at the end of the orchard, carefully assorted so that there is always something in bloom. There is no need to cut them, you just have to wait. As a result, insects have a nice home, birds happily live in their nests and bees also have plenty to do. Here we find elder and cherry trees, as well as various types of fruit, and there are also some taller trees around the house, which are particularly popular with bird species that are otherwise rarely seen. Woodpeckers, for example, or hoopoes with their beautiful crest. Stopping or strolling quietly among the trees, you can hear cheerful singing. Nature, growth, and biodiversity: the perfection of nature.
Here at the Unterwirthof in Lana Melanie lives with her husband and two children on the top floor of the house, while her grandmother and parents live on the lower floors. Four generations under one roof. The grandfather received the farm from his parents, and then moved it away from the village centre in the 1960s, here in the countryside. Melanie’s father then took it over and converted it to organic farming in 2001.
He was always fascinated by organic farming methods and was convinced that he would be able to provide the whole family with a good life. It took some time to implement so that everything was perfect.
Today they have gone a step further and are dedicated to biodynamic cultivation. This is because they are gradually learning to recognise good things. And the more you immerse yourself in it, the more you understand the organism in a complete, holistic way; the more you can see not only the plant itself, but also what is below and above it. Here again, the perfection of nature must be captured.
"If you are convinced of what you are doing, then it is the right thing to do!"
And if you feel that there is something more to be done, then it is the right thing to do. It is a path, a process that has to be right for each of us.
Melanie has been running the farm together with her husband Paolo for three years. He is primarily the farmer on the farm, helping in the fields and organising and managing the helpers for the harvest. She is the one who takes care of everything, including the paperwork, and steps in when needed. And her father is always there to help where he can.
Together they cultivate 6 hectares, including the Biosüdtirol Gala and Braeburn varieties. 3 hectares around the farm and 2 meadows of 1.5 hectares each outside. And in the midst of the many apple trees, this long strip of green. About 1,000 square metres, Melanie tells us. Here she used to grow herbs and then various types of vegetables, for herself and her family. But where can you store the vegetable harvest of a 1,000 square metre garden? Gradually, the families of the village came together to share the space and now enjoy the growth and harvest together. The adults together in the vegetable garden and the little ones sharing playtime together. Everyone enjoys this perfect nature.
Further back, an area lies uncultivated to allow the ground to recover, and next to it various flowers stretch towards the sky. A strip with various ‘exotic’ blooms is thriving. Melanie has planted various vegetables here, but does not harvest them: she lets them blossom to obtain seeds from which she can then grow new plants. Here, too, nature offers us a perfect cycle. Melanie is happy to see which of these beautiful flowers then produce plants if they are allowed to. Some only flower in the second year, but this does not bother her. Nature always knows what it is doing. So rocket, carrots, beetroot, various lettuces and other cabbages can also be just plants.
Melanie is an experienced gardener who later trained as a florist and worked in a flower shop for eight years. She would like to combine this passion with farming, hence the presence of all these flowers shining amidst the greenery. She loves creating beautiful bouquets, always with what nature has to offer. Nothing that has to be delivered from a distance, but local, time-tested products. A winter bouquet is therefore simply presented with several dried plants, a soft golden glow and natural earth tones. Again, creativity can be freely expressed. And once again Melanie uses seeds to grow new flowers, allowing nature to express its perfection.
There are still a few hens and bees on the farm. Melanie might want to breed some sheep one day and if she did, she would want to do it right here, with no hurry.
Hens, bees, apples, vegetables, some herbs and flowers. A beautiful bouquet of roses adorns each row of apple trees, just as it did the vines. In this case, their job is to keep disease at bay, but for apple trees it is different: apple trees belong to the rose family and are very similar, requiring the same things and pairing well together. The reason for the roses is a different, more beautiful one: it is simply that Melanie’s mother loves roses. Perhaps this is where Melanie’s passion for floriculture comes from. How does the saying go? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.