Even the bees are amazed
KLAUS FARTHOFER BREAKS BORDERS. HIS HONEY CREATIONS PUT EVERYTHING KNOWN IN THE SHADE. THERE ARE TASTE EXPLOSIONS IN THE SIGN OF THE BEES.
First of all, there is no talking. First of all, there is tasting. As much as Klaus Farthofer likes to talk about his bees, honey and beekeeping, he is silent - for now. "Taste, then talk," he says tersely. The beekeeper from Schwaz obviously knows exactly why he strictly adheres to this order. On a beautiful tasting-present stand all kinds of jars, all with the clear, coherent logo of the Farthofer beekeeping. Classic ones with screw caps are there and even more classic preserving jars with the familiar red rubber ring. In a small bowl are small spoons. And off we go.
The beekeeper unscrews the first jar, takes a spoon and dips it in. A beautiful dark brown mass of honey he pulls out, and the honey tastes as rich and velvety and deep and delicious as really good honey tastes. "This is our normal honey," he explains, and it's clear that there's some tension built up with the word "normal."
It was only at the beginning of October that the man from Schwaz was informed that his honey had achieved the highest score of 80 out of 80 points in the honey awards of the Provincial Beekeeping Association. Yes, even with honey there are testers who, similar to their better-known colleagues with wine or schnapps, are able to judge the overall work from many small sensory details and scientifically verifiable facts. This is not the first gold medal for the products of the Farthofer family, which includes not only people but quite a few busy bees. Their hives are quite fairly distributed in the Silver Region. They are in their own garden in Schwaz, in Vomperbach, on the Weerberg, on the Pillberg, in Gallzein and in Stans. At their various locations, they are looked after and persuaded with much dedication to trade in their honey. "Starting in the spring, when they start flying, I'm at every hive every ninth day, unless it's hailing elephants or I'm doing something with the queen bees' breeding. Looking into the hives too often is not good at all. They don't like that," Klaus knows.
He knows his bees well, knows how they react, and gets to feel their moods from time to time. Their arguments are then captivating: "If you are calm yourself, they are gentle. But it can also be that they are funnier - when a thunderstorm comes, for example." What bees don't like is sweat, or the smell of someone coming out of a cow shed. "If you smell normal, like a human just smells, they don't do anything," he says.
His father started with "the bees" 58 years ago, and Klaus Farthofer grew up with their rhythm and the fascination they can maintain for a lifetime in someone so infected. At some point he got his first own hive, then he became interested in other bees and then the question arose whether or not he would continue beekeeping. His answer was yes. For too long, bees had grabbed him and never let go. "The animal knows that it has to step on the gas in the spring, it develops towards the main harvest, from the summer solstice the queen says: So, now the year is coming to an end. And she goes back with the laying performance. The bees that hatch now are fed differently so that they are long-lived," Klaus Farthofer gives a little insight into the year of the bees.
A worker bee lives between five and six weeks, the winter bee must be able to survive between three and five months, and the drones, yes, the male bees whose only purpose in life is to please the queen, are kicked out at the end of the bee year. "These are the drone battles," says the beekeeper. Anyone who is confronted with expertise as a layman and realizes that it is the teeny-tiny multiplication tables to which the knowledgeable counterpart is forced to confine himself, pales slightly. The mere fact that a beehive always has an operating temperature of 34 to 35 degrees - summer and winter - and that the bees miraculously manage to maintain this temperature and defy both heat and bitter cold, makes one gobsmacked. One returns to safer ground if one relies on the general knowledge that bees are among the world's most important pollinators and make a priceless contribution not only to the preservation of wild and cultivated plants, but also to yields. No wonder Klaus Farthofer was at the forefront in the fall of 2015 when the city of Schwaz planted a model flower meadow to provide food for the bees. Then as now, the passionate bee man emphasizes that private garden owners create an extremely valuable habitat for native honey bees with just two square meters of flower meadow. Valuable is also, what they make from it. Honey.
Honey. The bee makes it. He tastes. And he is healthy. So far, so good. But anyone who still thinks honey is honey is exorbitantly mistaken. Yes, now the dramatization goes into the second round.
Klaus Farthofer picks up the next jar and takes out a taste with his spoon. The consistency is more viscous than that of "normal" cream honey, it is brown and as soon as it touches the tongue and palate, it goes boom. It's an explosion that happens and brings an amazed-happy smile to your face in a split second. It's distantly reminiscent of Nutella, but this familiar spread quickly fades to sugary-fat blandness. "This is our honey with hazelnut - a pure natural product made from 74 percent cream honey, 25 percent hazelnut mousse and one percent organic cocoa," explains Farthofer, who grins at the reaction of his counterpart. After all, it is limited to the word "wow". It is the grin of a connoisseur, the reaction of those who try this honey with hazelnut for the first time must therefore be similar. The taste makes you melt holistically, not unlike honey in the mouth, and the temptation to grab another spoonful right away is not small..
But nix there. A sip of water neutralizes the out of joint taste buds and the next spoon is served. Honey with almond. Again a melting "wow". This is followed by honey with cinnamon, which wakes up all the Christmas, and already the beekeeper opens the door to another unknown world. Presented in a wire-frame jar, it is more red than rosé and exudes its unmistakable aroma shortly after opening: strawberry. The expectation thus aroused is exceeded in the mouth. As if the essence of an entire strawberry field had been captured in the honey - for just this moment. It's gigantic. "For our honey with fruit, we use selected, freeze-vacuum-dried fruits," Klaus Farthofer explains, and the plural that resonates makes the palate rejoice further: Honey with aronia berry, raspberry, blueberry, Schwazberry and sour cherry. No, who is convinced that honey is the same honey and differs "only" by the fields and trees and forests where the bees were busy to bloom, has - it may be rightly claimed after this tasting - no idea at all.
With its honey products, which cover beyond edible with all kinds of propolis variations also the welfare, with the care products the pleasant and with the alcoholized the bekömmlich beschwipsenden spheres, the beekeeping Farthofer puts everything known in the shade. There also the bees marvel.
SAYS THE QUEEN: SO, NOW THE YEAR IS COMING TO AN END."
Klaus Farthofer, beekeeper.
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