photo: Olivia Wimmer
photo: Olivia Wimmer
Urban Farming is not a new thing in Vienna: Alreay in the 1930s when there were fears of a foodstuff shortage, the city’s inhabitants started to grow their own vegetables and fruit in large numbers. But the four producers who are portrayed below each take their own, per-sonal path into the field of homegrowing delicacies.
Few people know that coffee grounds are actually the perfect medium for growing tasty mushrooms. The joint invention of two friends–one studying engineering, the other agron- omy–that started as an experiment in their basement, quickly turned into an award-win- ning business concept. Today, the guys from ‘Hut und Stiel’ pick up the grounds from over 772.000 litres of coffee that people drink in Vienna’s coffee houses by cargo bike and process it at their farm. The delicious oyster mushrooms that grow out of their special organic me- lange, are not only nutrient and rich in flavour, but also get delivered by ‘Hut und Stiel’ to their gastronomy partners by bike and within a few hours after the harvest.
Located at Kettenbrückengasse, close to a U4-station and not far from the city centre, Ger- trude Henzl presents her Viennese take on tasty urban food and ecological sustainability: Opened in 2011, the shop exclusively sells fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow in a natu- ral environment, be it in Vienna’s woods or the private gardens of Gertrude Henzl’s friends and family. Mrs Henzl takes a special interest in weeds and rare types of fruit that cannot be found in industrial production. Guided herb-collecting tours as well as seasoning salt semi- nars round off the picture.
In the 18th century, the Roman snails from the vineyards at the city’s edges were called ‘Vi- enna’s Oysters’: A tribute to their fine taste but also to the centrality of snail-dishes in Austri- an cuisine. The Viennese snail manufactory, Gugumuck, is a family business that blends this food tradition with culinary and ecological innovation. Home-growing their tasty Roman snails on the edge of the city and serving snail-centred 7-course-meals in their own ‘Hof-Bis- tro’, they are open three Fridays a month–reservation is highly recommended!
Close to Karlsplatz lies the Wiener Secession, built more than one hundred years ago as an exhibition space for modern art and today still serving this purpose. But there is also some city wildlife on the historic art nouveau building: Two bee colonies of the ‘Apis melifera car- nica’-type live on the Secession’s roof, with two master keepers harvesting the honey the city- bees produce. In times of monocultures and pesticides dominating industrial agriculture, the cities diversity of flora actually provides its bees with more organic ingredients for tasty and unpolluted honey.