The Natz-Schabs/Naz-Sciaves high plateau used to be home to beetroot, potatoes, corn and cows. But now it’s apples. Walter Gasser also gave up cattle farming in 1997 and his potato and beetroot cultivation slowly declined. “It just didn’t pay off any more,” Walter says today.
Together with his son Stefan, the apple farmer manages the Haslerhof farm in Viums/Fiumes, north of Natz-Schabs. Focusing exclusively on apple growing brings the family many advantages. They can manage their own work – provided its not during the intense harvest period – and are also free on Sundays. The father and son team are happy. They like working in the open air. Nevertheless, there are still some challenges today.
Due to the fact that frost protection irrigation is not possible in their apple orchards in Natz-Schabs, the Gasser family has suffered severe crop failures some years. In addition, their apple orchards are divided into 16 small fields, some of which are several kilometres apart. This means spending a lot of time in the tractor, especially during the harvest. At an altitude of between 800 and 900 m above sea level, their Golden Delicious apples are of a very high quality and particularly tasty. “They have more flavour,” Stefan explains. “Based on the aroma, firmness and flavour, I would recognise any apple grown here.”
In Natz-Schabs, there are also some varieties that cannot achieve the desired quality, so Walter and Stefan stick to their motto: Plant the right one in the right place. And that’s exactly what they do.
During the harvest, the Gassers receive their reward – the result they have been working towards all year. And then a new working year starts all over again. Another season in which father and son will change one thing or another, because both agree: “There’s always something you can improve.”