The Hundsalzhof owned by the Weiss family is located in a real scenic location on the “sunny side” in Reitdorf. Their wonderfully creamy fruit yoghurt regularly “sweetens” my lunch break. Inspired by this, I recently met Monika Weiss for an interview to give you an insight into who and what is behind the regional dairy products from Reitdorf.
Down-to-earth and sustainable
After I’ve had a chance to enjoy the wonderful view of the courtyard, we sit down on the terrace. It’s a cosy place – the old wooden façade radiates cosiness on the one hand, while the new wooden terrace railing is equipped with modern photovoltaic elements on the outside. Little Simon plays in the garden and meanwhile Monika tells me that her parents-in-law Liesl and Hans Sr. bought the Hundsalzhof in 1996 after the family had already been farming another farm in the Flachau Valley for years on a lease. In 2016, she then took over the farm together with her husband Hans Jr. A smile flits across Monika’s face as the BOKU Vienna graduate goes on to explain why her family decided to go organic on their farm: “Due to our love of the land, nature and animals.”
The Hundsalzhof itself is a small mountain farm, but in the meantime the Weiss family also manages two neighbouring farms on the Aigenberg. These are mainly home to the young cattle. Around 16 dairy cows supply the milk for the delicious dairy products such as yoghurt, curd, fresh and semi-hard cheese. Monika processes almost 10,000 litres of milk per year in her production room, which the family has set up according to the latest hygiene requirements. The remaining milk is delivered to the dairy “Salzburg Milch”. “In summer, the cows are all on the alpine pasture, some of them in Flachauwinkl. These are practically milked for board and lodging, i.e. for the pasture grass from the alpine pasture farmer there. Six cows spend the summer on the Eibensteinalm, the only alpine pasture in Reitdorf,” Monika tells me as she offers me some samples of her homemade products.
Division of labour
Stable work at the Hundsalzhof is a male domain. Although Hans Jr. also works, he and his father, Hans Sr. feed and milk the cows, in winter at Hundsalzhof – then in summer at the Eibensteinalm. In the course of the morning, the milk is processed by Monika into sustainable dairy products, bottled, packaged and delivered. By the way, Monika learned how to process milk on her “Godparent” mountain pasture in Bramberg and during her two seasons on the Sulzkaralm in Filzmoos. “Of course, I also try to keep up-to-date with courses and training whenever possible, and I enjoy exchanging ideas with colleagues,” the friendly farmer tells me, adding, “in the meantime, we’ve almost become a close-knit group.”
Sustainable and regional
For the Weiss family, sustainability means working in closed cycles on their farm, e.g. with fertiliser. Drinking water comes from the farm’s own spring. The wood from thinning the forest is used for heating. The farm’s own photovoltaic system supplies two-thirds of the electricity it needs, and Hundsalzhof also uses reusable glass instead of plastic for the packaging of its products wherever possible.
Monika delivers twice a week. In addition to the customers in Reitdorf, the Dorfalm in Flachau, the Lagerhaus and the organic shop “Naturgartl” in Altenmarkt are also supplied. Here, the milk products from the Hundsalzhof are available for sale to guests and locals.
photo credits: Elisabeth Hartl – Flachau Tourismus