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The vegetable grower Harald Gasser

Reaping what you sow

Harald Gasser is a new breed of farmer. He cultivates old vegetables. Have you ever seen purple carrots?

Though it might not seem so at first, Harald Gasser, a young organic farmer from Barbiano/Barbian, really loves his work. Formerly a social worker, he now experiments with rare and old varieties of vegetables that very few people even know exist.

Harald Gasser is one of a new breed of South Tyrolean farmers who are dedicated to alternative crops and, through their regional products, support the system of lesser circulation. Harold Gasser became a passionate farmer only when he could do it his way. Unlike his father, who still had cows in the barn, he wanted to see whether or not he had a knack for growing vegetables. There was a lot he had to learn, he says. And he also knows failure well.
Twelve years ago, when Gasser took over Aspingerhof Farm where he grew up, his first vegetable garden was as big as a child’s room. On 15 square meters of soil, he sowed the seeds of 180 different varieties that had disappeared from everyday life into the soil. Today Gasser cultivates 400 different varieties − all truly organically grown − on 3,000 square meters of land. He and his family strive to grow food that is healthy, but still tastes good. As a result, Aspingerhof is considered to be a model farm within South Tyrol. Gasser now sells his vegetable treasures to the masters of South Tyrol’s Michelin-star cuisine.
Text: Gabriele Crepaz
Photos: Alex Filz
Video: Andreas Pichler
Year of publication: 2014