07, Jul 2020
INTERVIEW WITH PEPPI
Recently we met with Josef ‘Peppi’ Schlatter – one of our local hay suppliers – to talk about everything and anything and of course about hay. He runs an alp meadow high above the village Fließ at 1,700 meters above sea level. Only once per year in August he harvests the species-rich and tender alpine grass with the help of his children and grandchildren. This hay makes our hay surfaces ALMWIESN and WILDSPITZE, in all their variations, so unique.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR THE HARVEST?
The alp meadows only are harvested once a year in August. Then the grasses and flowers are fully developed and make sure of the growth of next year. The alp meadows don’t get fertilized.
A further sign of the matured hay and grasses is the slowly fading arnica.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO HARVEST THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS?
At unharvested meadows the tall grasses fall down and just stay there. This prevents the growth of other plants and raises the risk of avalanches in Winter, because the snow just slips over the grass carpet.
The reason why mountain meadows often aren’t harvested is pure and simple: due to the great expenditure of time and physical effort it isn’t profitable (anymore) for the farmers.
WHY DOES THE HAY SMELL SO GOOD?
Due to the ingredient Coumarin the hay smells that pleasant and aromatic. When the grasses dry the Coumarin evaporates and the now transformed hay is even more digestible for the animals then fresh grass.
Sometimes, when collecting the hay, the alp cows watch closely at the fence because they desire the delicious fresh hay.
HAY IS NOT THE SAME AS HAY
Peppi is doing a quality test. Due to long-time experience he immediately recognizes which grass is from which meadow owing to stalks and stems.
Of course, he immediately realized that we gave him a different hay than his…
Peppi also remembers his childhood and how he experienced hay harvesting as a child. It was like a summer vacation for the family. And so he stayed in the mountains with his siblings and father, while his mother took two hours march each day to the valley and back again to take care of the animals. He himself has always enjoyed the time at the alp meadow.