Sissy and Peter. Almost like Sissi and Franz, but without any imperial trimming. More like Heidi and Peter – simple and likeable. No baby goats, but instead around 20 hens that happily cluck around Sissy’s apple groves.
But first thing’s first, as Peter’s story starts a bit later.
When her grandfather died, Sissy Pfeifer’s father needed someone to help him manage the farm. After all, there was almost too much work for only 2 hands. Young Peter volunteered. He had always been interested in farming, and that was reason enough for him to attend the Fachoberschule für Landwirtschaft in Auer, a technical college for agriculture. He was the only one in his class who didn’t have his own farm. “I’ll simply have to marry a farmer,” he answered when his friends teased him. And that is exactly what happened. A man with a vision. Many years later, he found a likeable farmer with whom he could share a farm and actually manage it: Sissy.
“If you’re going to do it, go organic” – in this case as well, a man with a vision – and not least to the joy of Sissy’s father, who was interested in the concept back in the 1990s. But the time was not right for it then – or he himself was not. Now, however, the time seemed more than right.
For Sissy, who is in tune with nature, and her husband Peter, the idea of organic farming made sense. It gives them a completely different life on the farm, if for no other reason. The 20 to 25 hens (the number depended on the hunger of the foxes and martens), for example, who strut around directly beneath the apple trees, peck at tufts of grass or scratch out tasty worms. And then at some point in the evening, they line up to go back into their mobile stall. Sissy is convinced that their eggs would hardly be as yellow – and her conscience hardly as clear – if she didn’t use everything that the farm produces in their feed. Including all the different vegetables that they plant directly beneath the young apple trees. This keeps the soil around the young saplings nice and acidic, and perfectly optimises the use of space at the same time.
By fortunate coincidence, they were able to set up the new building complex, Stoanerhof farm, as a ‘closed farm’. It is named after the deceased grandfather: Stoaner Heinl.
On a good 6 hectares here, the organic farming couple grow crispy, juicy varieties like Story® Inored, Gala and Natyra®. Scattered beneath them, leek and chard, plus tomatoes and beans. The raised beds in the house garden produce lettuce and various herbs, carrots, spinach, turnips and celeriac. Sissy loves gardening; she is happy when plants sprouts and grow, and even happier when she can harvest them. As a trained food technologist, she is aware of what constitutes healthy cuisine, and cooks nourishing dishes for Peter and their 3 children. This passion is most likely what makes her kitchen one of her favourite places on the farm. She can experiment there, using everything she can find. Tries things out, combines and creates – often with very unusual ingredients. As Peter readily confirms, Sissy is definitely a genius in the kitchen.
“With the right ingredients, healthy eating is easy.”
When Sissy isn’t in the kitchen, at the raised beds or in the apple groves, she coaches interested individuals, families or entire groups on how to switch to healthy food habits, organises team building workshops, and lectures or holds cooking workshops on various subjects – from cuisine rich in nutrients with millet, buckwheat and natural sugar to brain food and healthy snacks between meals.
With yoga, Sissy balances out her busy schedule. She is a certified yoga teacher, gives one or two classes a week and even organises detox retreats. This provides energy in addition to balance. And she needs energy when the apples are ripe and everybody meets in the groves: Sissy, Peter, her father and the children. A handful of paid helpers and even friends who enjoy doing the work for a day or two. This is what life is like on beautiful Stoanerhof Farm in Laives, where the fox says good night to the hens and Sissy says good night to Peter.