What do you need to know? What training courses do future organic farmers take to learn to grow the fruit and vegetables that arrive on our tables?
The Agricultural Technical Institute opens its doors to us and answers these and other questions on the subject. The Technical Institute has existed since 1980 and is based in Castel Baumgarten, in the locality of Ora. Today is has about 500 registered students from all over South Tyrol. It is possible to choose from the following fields of study: Agriculture and Environment, Production and Processing, Viticulture and Oenology.
In agriculture, as in any other field of study, one principle holds true: students learn faster if they have the chance to do “field work”. This is why the institute created the Happacherhof farm, run in collaboration with the students. In its 15 hectare area, apples, grapes, cherries, apricots, berries and vegetables are grown. Here students practice the techniques of fruit growing and horticultural practices: planting, pruning, thinning, harvesting, calibration, harvest estimation, quality control and much more.
One third of the surface is cultivated using exclusively organic methods. The most widely grown variety of apple is Topaz; the Natyra and Story Inored varieties were also recently planted. The farm also produces organic apple juice. So then, prosit! Let’s drink to a great harvest!