Hatzenstädt organic Alpine dairy
Good enough to sink your teeth into - organic and regionally produced cheese
Niederndorferberg is located in the Untere Schranne, where the morning sun first pushes away the wisps of mist. The farms that can deliver their milk to the Hatzenstädt organic Alpine dairy are all within a one hour walk. "Can" because the membership rules of the cooperative are very strict. That's because Hatzenstädt is committed to regionality. From the feed to the sale.
It's a little spooky when, in the fog, there is suddenly the sound of wild clanking. To the Hatzenstädt locals this is what work sounds like. They're already standing ready to unload the clanking milk jugs, which are transported on the cable car from the alms on Niederndorferberg directly to the organic Alpine dairy. These days it's a rarity in Central Europe. But this is what guarantees that the Alpine dairy can process the milk from all its suppliers within twelve hours. And the cows can still spend their summers on the cool alms enjoying Alpine herbs.
Cheese manufacture has a long tradition in Tyrol. Cheese was already being made at a lot of mountain farms in the Middle Ages. The first documented reference to cheese manufacture on Niederndorferberg goes back to the year 1224. After extraction of the milk fat to make butter, low-fat cheeses such as Tyrolean grey cheese are often made. However in the middle of the 19th century the tradition of "full fat cheese" came to the Tyrolean Alps from Switzerland via Vorarlberg. But for the production of hard cheese you need at least 800 litres of milk. As the economic situation deteriorated in the period between the wars, the Hatzenstett farmers increased cooperation with their neighbours. As the largest land owner and cheese supplier for Munich and Freising since 1480, the Hatzenstädt organic Alpine dairy gave its name to the cooperative. Ahead of their time, in 1937 they decided to not use silage, concentrated feed or sugar beets. "The only way to be truly regional is to limit ourselves to local feed. It would be dishonest to feed our cows with food that isn't grown here." explains the Alpine dairy chairman Heinz Gstir. On the other hand summer alm and regular meadow grazing became compulsory. This means that the milk cows eat, smell and taste their home. 38 organic farmers committed to the strict regulations, for the well-being of their animals and safeguarding of the high self-imposed quality standards.
Roots in the social environment
A direct descendant of the Hetzenstetter farm is still amongst the cheesemakers who take turns processing the fresh organic milk every day. They maintain the Hatzenstädt tradition of cheese manufacture, in which only pure spring water, natural calf rennet and salt is added to the milk. Every year this creates around eight tonnes of cottage cheese and yoghurt, 20 tonnes of butter and 150 tonnes of cheese. Farm products that have won multiple gold medals. All four cheesemakers also have sideline jobs as organic farmers, and value the surrounding nature. Astrid, Katrin and Maria. "Even the saleswomen in our cheese shop are locals. Because for us "home" means having deep roots in our social environment", says Heinz Gstir.
But the customers of the cheese shop are as widely scattered as the production and processing of the cheese is local. Shopping communities have been established from Wörgl to Traustein and Munich, to supply families and neighbours with cheese and specialities from Hatzenstädt every week.
Anyone who wants to hear the clanking and clinking of the milk cans, or pack a package to take home, is welcome.