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Armin Lenz, Beerengut Straden, on the cultivation and distribution of organic Styrian berries

"In the beginning, we lacked the know-how, marketing experience as well as the appropriate infrastructure"

Since 2008, five Styrian farming families have dedicated themselves to growing fresh organic berries at Beerengut Straden in southeastern Styria. Starting with a modest organic blueberry cultivation on about 5 hectares, the organic farm nowadays produces fresh organic berries for about nine months a year and recently even added ginger for domestic food retailers. The goal of the young company is not only to grow by 20 percent annually, but also to create a platform for future organic berry farms from the region, said Managing Director Armin Lenz during his presentation at this year's berry seminar.

From the very beginning, the farm has been dedicated to direct marketing to food retailers. "However, in the beginning we lacked the appropriate know-how, self-marketing experience as well as the appropriate infrastructure," Lenz says in the section lessons learnt. In the five years that followed, marketing and production were optimized and the internal organization and operational processes were improved. Since 2015, the basic assortment of the berry farm has included a total of four organic berry varieties, namely currants, blueberries, raspberries and kiwi berries.

Aromatic organic berries of the proprietary BEO Beeren brand  

Over the years, the modest berry farm has been able to develop into a full-fledged farming community with a total of 16 members and a total area around 30 hectares of organic cultivation. "Our strategy falls on three pillars, namely expanding the range, attracting new producers and growing by 20% annually. A few years ago, together with about 20 other young farmers in Styria, we launched an initiative called 'The Young, Wild Vegetable Farmers'. The aim of this association is to retain a piece of added value for the region and, at the same time, to increase quality awareness for their own product."

Prganic kiwi berry cultivation 

Product-dependent protective measures
In terms of cultivation, climate change is nowadays also causing extreme problems for Styrian fruit producers. To ensure that the soft fruit crops grow even under extreme climatic conditions, whether persistent heat, late frost, hail or heavy rain, the company has invested heavily in appropriate protective measures in recent years. "Depending on the crop, we rely on hail protection, drip and frost protection irrigation, among other things, and are always open to new, innovative protection solutions. Especially with relatively new crops, such as kiwifruit, there is still quite little know-how in this regard."

Organic farmer Armin Lenz

In addition to supplying Austrian food retailers directly, part of the yield is also marketed through self-service stores. Products are offered either under the joint brand concept of the 'Young, Wild Vegetable Farmers' or the BEO Beeren label.

For more information:
Armin Lenz
Dirnbach 15
A-8345 Straden
+43 664 8982615
[email protected]   

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