The organic meat farmer
While Bernd Pardeller from the Karerhof farm in Nova Levante spends most of his day tending to the local forests as part of his main job, back home on his organic farm there is plenty of animal action. Two pigs grunt their way across the open fields, closely pursued by two dwarf goats. Chattering hens rush back and forth between their open-air enclosure and the wooden farmhouse, watched with beady eyes by two turkeys belonging to an old species.
A little further up the mountain, near the Passo di Costalunga, 17 cows are enjoying the summer of their lives tucking into the fresh grass on the wide open pastures at the foot of the Catinaccio mountains. “Humans eat meat – at least, most of them do. That’s always been the case throughout history. As a meat farmer, the least I can do is offer my animals the best possible living conditions while they are alive. For me, organic is not just a label but a lifestyle. That is why I have made a conscious decision to keep my farm small. That way I can give the few animals the life they deserve,” explains Bernd with conviction. Though he is currently not able to live from faming alone, his love of animals means he is determined to keep the farm going. Talking to the 42 year-old, it soon becomes clear what the word “organic” means to him. “These days you hardly ever see pigs roaming around outdoors,” Bernd says with a sigh as he reaches down and strokes one of his own tucking into a juicy lettuce leaf. “My cows and pigs only eat grass, hay and sometimes corn, but that is normally only in winter,” he says. Artificial feed, he adds, is strictly off the menu at the Karerhof. The meat his farm produces is made into dried bacon for his own family and for guests spending their holidays on the farm. Beef, he explains, often poses more of a problem: “In my case, I have to sell the meat before I slaughter the cow. However, most chefs don’t like the idea of buying a whole cow – they want filets or steaks to cook for their guests. That discrepancy sometimes makes things tricky,” explains Bernd. “Buying a whole cow comes at a certain price, of course, but organic farming is a time-intensive process.” Bernd currently supplies fine dining restaurants throughout the Alto Adige region. Looking forward, he would like to sell his meat to a wider public – not least so that people learn to understand the value behind real organic produce.
Bernd’s favourite place to be is on the high pastures near the Lago di Carezza lake, where his cows can roam the meadows and he can let his gaze wander from one mountain to the next. Lotte, Hermine and all the other cows spends their summers here. Newborn calves are allowed to stay with their mothers and drink their milk whenever they need to. The only other food is the lush mountain grass and herbs. This grass is harvested in late summer and dried to make the hay the cows are fed during the winter months at the farm.
Though life as an organic farmer isn’t always easy, it is obvious that Bernd takes great pride and pleasure in offering his animals a green life in the fresh mountain air.
is responsible for Web Concept & Content at clicktext, the South Tyrolean agency for corporate content. She loves and lives writing, and her stories reflect what the land of South Tyrol – and especially the Val d’Ega – has to tell!
The Italian version of this text is the work of our translation wizard Serena Schiavolin, responsible for Italian content at clicktext, who brings a typical Italian touch to our stories!