No shying away from challenges‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎

Sara and Patrick Guarisco have put their Bio-Hofwerk farm on a versatile footing. They were helped in this by the bio-inspecta inspection body.

Asparagus was badly affected by the changeable weather from March to April. Temperatures of over 20°C caused the first asparagus shoots to shoot out of the ground. The following frosty nights reduced the green fine vegetables to yellow, hollow stalks - despite the cover. The Bio-Hofwerk farm run by Sara and Patrick Guarisco from Wilen ZH was also confronted with these challenging weather conditions. The first frost caused them to lose about 20% of their annual harvest. 

Good sense for trends
The young couple, who took over the 11-hectare organic farm from Sara's father in 2019, face a wide variety of challenges with a great deal of motivation and energy. With the new planting of the green asparagus crop three years ago, they had a good feel for the needs of the regional market. The fine vegetables attract many customers from the region to their very attractively designed farm shop - where the charm of old meets modern cosiness. It opened its doors on 1 February. This year, green asparagus can also be cut for the first time.

It's greening between asparagus
The asparagus is grown on 30 acres. In addition to the asparagus spears, green manure covers the exposed soil. To minimise competition with the crop, the green growth between the rows is mulched. The mulch layer keeps back further weeds and nourishes the soil. After this year's harvest season, the poles are left standing and develop into a veritable shrubbery. During this time, the plant assimilates the necessary nutrients in the root. In autumn, when the asparagus green turns yellow, it is cut and removed. The field is fertilised with organic chicken manure so that the relevant nutrients for the coming asparagus season can be stored in the rootstock. 

Berries, vegetables and co.
The harvest of the asparagus crop is followed by berries (summer, autumn raspberries and blueberries) with drip irrigation. Potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots are grown as storage vegetables to expand the farm shop range for autumn and winter. In addition, other crops such as pumpkin, beetroot and carrots are cultivated for the wholesaler. Sara and Patrick Guarisco can also taste the first vintage of the farm's own wine with the Piwi variety Souvignier Gris.

Diversity and inspection
With such a diversity of products and special crops, how to cope with the organic standards and their inspection requirements? Good and healthy soil is essential for the young farmers. So far, they can manage the crops spray-free. Every evening, Patrick Guarisco notes down his daily agricultural and field work in his specially designed field calendar. This gives him an up-to-date overview of the farm at all times. With this tool, he is always well prepared for the inspection. Sara's father started converting to organic farming five years ago. Since then, they have been customers of the independent inspection and certification body bio.inspecta. Patrick Guarisco appreciates the encounters with the inspectors on both a human and a professional level. There are often well-founded technical discussions. "If you are also well prepared administratively for the inspection, none of this is a problem", he reflects on his encounters with the bio.inspecta inspectors.  

Experiencing agriculture  The farm's label symbolises the farm's philosophy: the preparation of fertile soil, which is the prerequisite for healthy growth, the networking of the farm and, of course, agricultural production. 

The farm managers' philosophy of life finds expression in the form of guided yoga classes, which can also be outdoors in nature. The desire to make the farm a place of cultural encounter, e.g. through wine tastings or art exhibitions, is a further priority. 

With their ideas, Sara and Patrick Guarisco are on a good path and stay open to new things. They are always ready to leave the comfort zone and take on new challenges.  

Monika Zimmermeier, bio.inspecta AG