The happy cows of the Gandhof

The Gandhof farmstead belonging to the Eberhöfer family lies at 1,280 m, in a tranquil part of Gand/Ganda in the Martelltal/Val Martello Valley. With steep mountains rising above on either side, the farm lies in the heart of the Stelvio National Park. In this idyllic mountain paradise in a corner of South Tyrol, there’s an abundance of indigenous flora and fauna. The small-scale Gandhof organic farm boasts a total of 5 cows and 2 calves that roam freely. This may seem astounding to a farmer, say, from Lower Saxony who is used to having hundreds of animals on his farm. But small farms with small numbers of animals have a long tradition in the Stelvio National Park area, and in most of South Tyrol.

In these high mountains, large-scale commercial farming doesn’t make much sense. For those able to cope with a just few animals and knowing how to manage scarce resources, livestock farming is an art, where almost nothing is wasted. Most of all, the farming of exclusively indigenous cattle species results in farm produce of the highest quality.

At the Gandhof, the welfare of their livestock is a top priority, besides the Eberhöfer’s close attachment to their animals. From spring to autumn, the cows graze out on the grassy slopes, and at night they are brought into the barn for milking. The cows also venture outdoors in the colder months and the grazing pasture are a 20 mins walk from the farm. During the winter months, the cows are exclusively fed on hay and concentrated organic fodder, with amazing results. On his farm, Rudolf Eberhöfer produces two types of exquisite organic cheese: “Tufer” is a soft cheese, covered by a fine white mould, that matures at 3 weeks. Organic raw milk cheese is made in 3 types of maturation, with the mildest variety maturing at about four weeks, the medium type needing two months and the most mature requiring between two to four months. The cheese is made with rennet, salt and water, with lactic acid bacteria as the only additive. The Eberhöfer family has adhered to the strict “Bioland” production protocols since 2014.

Eberhöfer Family
Gand/Ganda 53
I-39020 Martell/Martello (BZ)
Call +39 0473 744596