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      Dream career: organic farmer

    Josef Göltl, a Mangalica and Turopolje pig farmer on the eastern shore of Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland

    “Together with my father, we converted my parents’ farm to organic farming and then looked for animals that could be kept outside the entire year. That led me to the pig breeds Mangalica and Turopolje.” 

    organic farm Josef Göltl
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    A love for farming

    It is early morning, and Josef Göltl is already outside with his animals, feeding the fresh green lucerne clover to his some 150 pigs of the breeds mangalica, Turopolje, and Swabian-Hall. “Raising the animals in a species-appropriate way in open, outdoor spaces, giving them natural feed, and treating them respectfully is very important to me,” explains Göltl, scratching the thick coat of a woolly pig.

    It quickly becomes clear that the leading role on Göltl’s organic farm is played by his pigs, visibly healthy animals that are very happy out in the muddy pasture in any kind of weather. “No matter how cold it is, thanks to their thick layer of fat the woolly pigs can be outside the whole year – and they also obviously enjoy being here,” explains Josef Göltl.

    Another point of pride for Josef Göltl is his organic farming operation: “We deliberately do not use concentrated feed, and we cultivate the lucerne clover for our pigs ourselves. Even in winter we feed the dried clover to our pigs.” The Burgenlander chose this tough life on the farm himself and runs the business with passion. “Being an organic farmer is my dream career,” says Göltl, gazing proudly at his animals in the pasture.

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    Near Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland, in the middle of the town of Frauenkirchen, is the location of the organic farm and farm shop of Josef and Elena Göltl. “I’m primarily responsible for the animals, and my wife sees to the processing,” explains Göltl.

    In the farm kitchen, his wife Elena produces, among other things, the “Crema di Lardo”, a bread spread made from the white lardo fatback from the mangalica pigs, enhanced with fresh garlic and dried tomatoes grown right on the farm.

    The Göltls’ farm shop offers many other specialities as well, such as headcheese, which the family has been producing for generations according to an old recipe, but also black pudding, liverwurst, bratwurst, ham, salami, and various spreads.

    “When our work on the farm allows the time, my wife and I drive to the Leitha Mountains with our dog, on the other side of Lake Neusiedl. The region here around Lake Neusiedl offers a great deal: from flat countryside to the adjacent vineyards to the rolling landscape of the Leitha Mountains. As a native Burgenlander, I love this variety.”

    organic farm Josef Göltl
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    Josef Göltl

    A conversation with Josef Göltl

    Why Josef Göltl decided to give up a career as a mechanic in order to become an organic farmer, and what challenges he had to overcome when he switched to Mangalica and Turopolje pigs: this is what we wanted to find out, so we rang him up and asked him. austria.info reached him just as the organic farmer was coming in from feeding his pigs outside. “Today is a beautiful day out in the pasture,” says Josef Göltl, and immediately takes time out after his early-morning chores to speak with us.

    austria.info: Mr Göltl, what convinced you, a trained mechanic, to take over your parents’ farm and become a farmer with heart and soul?
    Josef Göltl Biobauer: Even as a child I spent my time with pigs, rabbits, ducks, geese, goats, and sheep on the farm run by my grandparents and later by my parents. My grandfather always took me with him to the animals, and he taught me how a farm works – from the breeding and feeding of the animals to their butchering and the processing of the meat. When I finished school, I did an apprenticeship as a mechanic, because at the time the farm was too small to run it as a full-time job. But right after my apprenticeship I started spending more and more time taking care of the animals on my parents’ farm. I was simply always drawn to nature, to the animals, and to agriculture. By the time my father and I had converted the whole operation to organic farming practices, I knew I would take over the farm from my parents. In 2003 it happened, and I’ve never regretted it! Except for the initial experiences with the new pigs that I brought to the farm – there were a few surprises then [laughs]!
    austria.info: What were your first experiences with the Mangalica and Turopolje pigs?
    Josef Göltl Biobauer: [laughs] That was a pretty big challenge. Without much prior experience, I just started raising pigs. After two years, I then took the first pigs to slaughter and was really shocked because I didn’t know what to do with all the fat. These woolly pigs are robust animals with a small amount of meat and a lot of fat. Fortunately, the Thum Schinken company, which has a great deal of experience in this area, showed me what I could do with all the fat. I had been ready to give up and call it quits with raising pigs, but then things really started taking off. And now we have many specialities on offer, from the white lardo fatback and the mangalica ham to mangalica salami.

    Excursion tips in the Lake Neusiedl area

    St. Martins Spa & Lodge offers not only rest and relaxation but also numerous activity programmes. The lodge is situated right on the edge of Lake Neusiedl – Seewinkel National Park, in the middle of a region that has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Region.

    Lake Neusiedl – Seewinkel National Park is Austria’s only steppe national park and features a rich variety of flora and fauna, including some 350 species of birds.

    Discover the town of Rust with its heritage-protected historic town centre, among the most picturesque of its kind. It has been honoured as a “Model Town of Historic Preservation”. The chimneys of the town centre are home to the country’s largest stork colony.

    The many “Heurigen” and wine taverns in northern Burgenland are where the diversity of Burgenland’s wine culture and the many traditional culinary specialities typical of the region can be enjoyed. Here, fine food and drink meet gemütlichkeit and conviviality. 

    Nationalpark Neusiedler See-Seewinkel / National Park Neusiedler See
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    A passion for organic

    “I worked for a time for the prominent Burgenland winegrower Umathum and was immediately fascinated by their biodynamic processing methods. I realised very quickly that this was how I wanted to work on my own farm as well. And it was not difficult to convince my father,” says Göltl. “Even before he turned the farm over to me, we worked together to convert it to an organic farming operation.”

    The Göltls also carefully converted and modernised their old barns and stalls, because, as Josef says, “it is very important to me to build on the experiences of my ancestors, who worked for generations as farmers.” At the same time, Josef Göltl is also open to new things. “Improving what is already here, but also constantly developing new ideas and putting them into practice: this is the name of the game for a successful future.”

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    The Mangalica pig, also known as woolly pig, is one of the oldest European breeds of pig. Thanks to their “wool coat” and thick layer of fat, these animals can be kept outside throughout the year. “I’m very taken with this hearty type of pig. Its robust health really sets it apart from the conventional pig breeds.”

    The pigs grow up outside, healthfully and slowly – “slower than many other pig breeds”, explains Göltl. The farmer also raves about the quality and distinctive flavour of the meat: “It has a darker red colour and tastes rather like wild-boar meat.”

    organic farm Josef Göltl
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    Discover Austria’s culinary diversity

    • Käsespätzle - a hearty, typical Austrian dish
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    • Apple strudel
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    Göltls’ organic farm: Where you can pet happiness

    “Everyone who visits our farm is invited to have a look behind the scenes and see how the pigs live and how we work,” says Göltl, as transparency is a high priority for him. The organic farmer also likes to tell visitors the story behind his products and invites them to sample his wares at the farm shop: “This is how I want to get customers excited about new taste sensations.”

    The Göltl family wants to continue to pursue organic farming with a conscious focus on a recirculation system at the farm. What does this mean exactly? In a nutshell, says Göltl, it means “reuse”. “Only very little should be lost. As far as possible, everything should be put back into use and reprocessed in all sorts of ways.”

    The Göltls also try to reduce transport routes: the distance food has to travel should be as short as possible. As Göltl explains: “We produce most things ourselves, and the rest is supplied by our long-time partners in the region.” 

     

    organic farm Josef Göltl
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    With his offerings of small amounts of fresh goods, the certified organic farmer places quality before quantity. “Quality is very important to us. We produce as much as possible ourselves in small amounts, which makes it very fresh. And we use ingredients from our own garden or from the region.

    “I am very concerned with the well-being of the animals. With a view to the future, I would like to continue to work regionally and be able to take care of my animals myself.” 

    organic farm Josef Göltl
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    How to get to Josef Göltl’s organic farm

    Josef Göltl Biobauer

    Kanalgasse 5

    A-7132 Frauenkirchen

    Österreich

    Telephone:
    +43 (0) 699 10 304 773

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