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The History of Brandt Arbogast Farm

Agnès Brandt presents Brandt Arbogast Farm in Harthouse

Trained as a horticulturist, I have worked in several horticultural and arboricultural companies where I have pruned trees and other plants,… and I was also involved in the sale of trees, bushes and other greenery in the store.

In 1996, my father decided to retire as a farmer.

On his farm, milk, cereals and asparagus were mainly produced.

After careful consideration and my husband’s support, I took over the family farm. It was necessary to reorganize the entire activity. The stables were transformed into stables to accomodate horse stabling facilities.

The adventure was about to begin, but I still had to work out some details…

How would I develop my business ? Until, one day, I came accross blueberries ! This red fruit got a hold on me right away.

 

Blueberries, wild blueberries, “brimbelles” : now which term would I choose ?

I opted for ” cultivated ” blueberries.

In 1998, I planted my first shrubs : blueberries. 3 varieties of blueberries at the outset. Nowadays, we have 9 varieties of blueberries growing and indeed they are not wild blueberries or brimbelles but “cultivated” blueberries.

As demand increased, the plantation expanded. More and more people are seeing the virtues of blueberry : low calorie, vitamin intake, especially C – E and its various culinary uses.

We have added other red fruits such as currants, blackcurrants, blackberries.

We have therefore decided to specialize in the production of other red fruits : blueberries, blackcurrants, currants, blackberies but these red fruits are summer season products ?

I had to further develop my asparagus production to make the farm sustainable. Mounds protect the asparagus. The production of white asparagus, typical here in Alsace, lasts about 8 to 10 weeks, from April to early or mid of June. Productivity depends largely on the weather. One year the harvest will be generous, other year it may be almorst nil. Asparagus reacts according to the sun, rain, cold and heat. We try to cover our asparagus with mulch but it does not always work as well as we would like it to.

We market our asparagus production directly at the farm or at our local markets (Strasbourg-Neudorf, Saverne and Haguenau) in 1Kg bunches, 1/2 bunches, short asparagus, asparagus tips, …

The harvest is done manually. Only minimal technical assistance is possible for the transport of the baskets and the lifting of the mulch to protect the mounds. It is always the human eye that detects asparagus. This production is labour-intensive. This is why I have developed the valorization of our asparagus crop: 1st choice, 2nd choice, …

 

Spring and summer are busy. But how do I occupy the days in the winter ? So I decided to develop my stalls at the markets about 10 years ago.

First of all, with the help of Grandma Angèle, I made jams and then added blueberry muffins,… Then we started making soups, the good soups used to make our grandmothers : split pea, mushroom soup, vegetable…

Supply and demand at the markets have changed. As time went by the farm invested in equipment : a kitchen, a laboratory, 2 “smoke” rooms, a sales outlet… and we are not finished yet.

The kitchen team is made up of a master butcher-caterer Patess who is passionate about his job. He is supported in kitchen by his cooking assistant in the daily or weekly production of ready meals, soups, cakes, pies, quiches.

Salting has no secrets for him. Smoked bacon, smoked ham,… Everything is a labour of love through the Christmas ” bredele “. During the holidays, they make foie gras, snail croustade,… and many other delicious and festive dishes.

 

Natacha sells at the Saverne markets on Tuesday afternoon’s, Thursday morning’s and Saturday morning’s.

Sales at the Marché Couvert of Strasbourg Neudof or the Halle du marché de Strasbourg Neudorf are carried out by 2 different motivated teams. The market is open on Tuesday morning’s and Saturday morning’s.

At the farm’s retail shop, the saleswoman will be happy to serve you. The schedules vary according to the seasons : summer / winter.

Over 2 decades, the farm has been transformed. When I took the farm, I was on my own. For a few years, now my husband Cedric has been working alongside me and we are assisted by an agricultural worker.

The future of the farm is looking good due to the arrival of our two children.

How do we grow ? 

 

What we grow

Respect for the environment.

That is to say, as close as possible to the plant with tools such as pest sensors but also insect hotels, flower beds, hedges, bird scarrers).

We promote sustainable agriculture and minimize interventions.

Organic inputs are preferred.

An independent organization GLOBALGAP certifies our production annually.

Food processing (cooking)

Since 2017, we have been monitored and advised by the EUROFINS laboratory specialising in food quality and safety verification.

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