Figs, chilis and woolly pigs
Green spaces account for almost half of the Vienna metropolitan area, a factor that has a huge hand to play in creating outstanding quality of life for locals and visitors alike. But there is more to these areas than just recreation and leisure – the fertile soil is also used to grow a surprising wealth of agricultural produce, especially for a major world capital. One sixth of Vienna’s total area is managed by 630 farmers. A mix of horticultural companies, winegrowers, crop, vegetable and fruit producers, they keep the Viennese population supplied with fresh, sustainable local produce throughout the growing season. It is hard to believe that 72,000 tons of fresh vegetables are harvested in the districts of Simmering and Donaustadt alone each year – with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and spinach among the annual bounty. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, with a whole lot more grown and reared in the city.
Nice and spicy: Chilihof
Run by the Kölbl family, the Chilihof estate was founded in the Viennese suburb of Breitenlee around 100 years ago, but it can trace its roots all the way back to the first half of the nineteenth century. Highly advanced for the time, it even grew strawberries in greenhouses, ready for sale at Vienna’s legendary Naschmarkt. Today, Georg Kölbl grows 15 different types of chilis on an impressive 4,400 m² site. The fresh chilis and his grandmother’s lovingly created sauces, preserves, salts and schnapps are available from various direct sellers, farm stores and restaurants.
Fruits of the soil: Schottenstift
The Schottenstift (Scott’s Abbey) estate has been a bastion of sustainable agriculture for around 860 years. It still cultivates traditional farming practices that prioritize environmental factors, and has been producing fruit in Breitenlee since the 1970s. Today, the estate harvests up to 2,000 tons of apples (12 varieties), 25 tons of cherries (11 varieties), five tons of plums (two varieties) and sour cherries. The fresh fruit and delicacies derived from it, including juices and schnapps, are on sale at the farm shop in Breitenlee.
Animal magic: Biohof N°5
Young farmer Oliver Kaminek has been breathing new life into his grandparents’ dormant estate and winemaking business in Stammersdorf since 2010. While the focus is still on winegrowing, the farm also has a number of animals, with a particular focus on rare breeds. Here, Mangalitza pigs – known locally as wool pigs – are free to wallow in the mud to their heart’s desire. Meanwhile, the chickens from the Sulmtal valley can be seen running around the farmstead and fields.
Bursting with vitamins: Prentlhof
Now run by the sixth generation of the Prentl family, the Prentlhof estate on the southern reaches of Vienna’s 10th district, Favoriten, grows organic sugar beet, soy and cereals including durum wheat, buckwheat, rye and barley. Fall is the season for organic potatoes and pumpkins. By the way: it is the only farm in Vienna to produce its own pumpkin seed oil. The Farm School initiative is another special highlight: the Prentlhof gives anyone with an interest in how cereal crops are grown a direct insight into its workings.
Sweet treats: Bio Feigenhof.
In summer 2006 Ursula Kujal and Harald Thiesz planted their first fig trees in Vienna’s 11th district, Simmering. Today the couple’s organic fig plantation produces more than 50 different varieties of the fruit between July and October. From pickled figs and fig chutneys and preserves to fig liqueur, there are countless delicious products on sale at the farm gate.
Text: Angelika Öttl
ChilihofAm Rain 5, 1220 Wien
Organic farm N°5 (Biohof N°5)Stammersdorfer Straße 5, 1210 Wien
- See website for open days.
PrentlhofKlederinger Straße 169, 1100 Wien
Feigenhof (Fig farm)Am Himmelreich 325, 1110 Wien