Gut Eichethof has been around now for a few hundred years – long before the now omnipresent “sustainability” was even born. The word Eichet comes from “eich (oak)” and “et” (a remote place), thus, oak trees that were situated in a remote place. In the early days, the estate served the castle as it once again does today: as a source of food and energy, a centuries-old principle of sustainability, which was just common sense back then.
We are participants of the “Bayerisches Kulturlandschaftsprogramm” (KULAP, Bavarian Programme for Agricultural Landscape).
In 1992, when the future of Gut Eichethof was being reconsidered, the objective was clear. The estate should once again be an autarchy, making the castle ensemble an agriculturally and energetically independent entity – just as in old times. Sustainability as a general principle was self-evident.
Helmut Steber, the master farmer at Eichethof, has successfully turned this concept into reality by pursuing two sustainability goals: the meeting of environmental requirements and the sustainable economic management of the estate, both in balance with each other.
The operation shows how he has succeeded. Gut Eichethof is a modern, profitable company in which diligence and well thought out innovations are felt in every detail.
Since 1993, Gut Eichethof has been a member of the farming association Naturland®, a network of organic farmers whose common credo is a holistic approach and environmentally sustainable economic activity. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture accepted the estate into the “Ökolandbau Offensive” (Organic Agriculture Offensive) in 2002 as an exemplary farm. The farm also received the distinction of practicing ‘sustainable agriculture fit for the future’ from the DLG (German Agricultural Society).
Since 1993 member of the farming association Naturland®
Besides organic seed production, farming is tailored to meet the needs of the castle. The estate is home to cattle, pigs and chickens who happily thrive here, while some 30 varieties of vegetables and potatoes are grown in the fields. Bees produce honey and also pollinate some 1,500 fruit trees, whose harvest is used to produce fine brandies and vinegars. A biogas plant generates more electricity than is used, as well as heat, which when combined with a wood chip heating system, meets 98% of the castle’s entire heat demand.
295 hectares, 195 of which for seed production
Corn, legume, root, vegetable
500 hectares of mixed forest
Just a simple green salad can make our chefs rave – so fresh, so fragrant, so refined in taste.
Gut Eichethof is truly a “purveyor” to the court when it comes to the cultivation of vegetables and fruit. All the kitchens at Schloss Hohenkammer get their supplies here. This is as fresh and “organic” as it gets.
The same rule applies for the fowl, the Angus cattle, the Swabian-Hall pigs on the estate that applies for the “vegetarian department”. The best biological conditions for the livestock, all of which are raised humanely. All animals receive the appropriate amount of exercise for their species, and their slaughter is carried out as gently as possible. Also with regard to the farm’s meat products, the castle’s kitchens are the preferred customers.
In reaction to the emphasis on ecological agriculture, a change has occurred in grain production. The focus is no longer on mass production, but on qualitatively demanding seed production – the new core business. Seed produced by Gut Eichethof is a biologically first-class product for customers, who, in turn, run high quality and environmentally friendly agricultural operations.
Today, Gut Eichethof is one of Germany’s largest producers of seed. In Bavaria, it is actually number one.
Natural regeneration and mixed forests are the characteristics of a forward-looking silviculture, and both focus on climate change. Natural regeneration, i.e. self-propagation or pollination, and more resistant mixed forests withstand increased storms and heat waves far better than vulnerable spruce cultures. In the forests of Gut Eichethof there are 15 different species of trees growing in the area’s various soils and locations. A beautiful mixed forest also provides more economically valuable timber, resulting in better sales. And, last but not least, seminar visitors especially love to relax under the beech trees.
PS: The reception area and hotel rooms in Schloss Hohenkammer’s new guesthouse were all constructed out of beautiful oak wood from our own forests.
As with everything we offer at Schloss Hohenkammer, our quality standards guide us. This also applies to our products in liquid form. Whether these are brandies, vinegars or oils – all are among the finest in their class. It is nice that visitors can take a piece, or a sip, of Schloss Hohenkammer with them as a reminder of their stay.
More than 1,000 fruit trees and bushes grow on the estate and all these fruits are available in liquid form. But more than that – they are pure, distilled enjoyment. Initially enjoyed as William pears, plums, apricots and quinces, there are now 25 brandies, five of them “barrique” (matured and stored in Italian oak barrels), that make up our proud assortment. Some of these spirits are made of fruit grown elsewhere, provided the quality is right.
The estate’s distillery has quickly gained an excellent reputation. At the World Spirits Awards 2013, it was ranked 15th – worldwide! – in first-class distilleries. Our blackthorn berry, apricot, and Gewürztraminer brandies were awarded gold medals. Three silver medals completed the success. In 2014 the three barrique brandies apple, grape and rowan berry joined the club of gold medals.
The brandies are complemented by our selection of high-quality oils and fine, aromatic vinegars. Again, the choice you face is growing steadily: we now produce 11 vinegars, including a rare tomato vinegar. Here, as with our fruit products, only the best organically grown raw materials are used.
All of our blossoming trees and shrubs are fertilised by six colonies of bees, which produce an excellent honey in the process. This completes our cycle of delicacies.
Net products, which are sustainably designed and operated, create an advantage that is rarely addressed: self-sufficiency.
In the case of Gut Eichethof, it is the fact that it is its own energy supplier: Two cogeneration plants with a total of 385 kW of electricity and heat generation, driven by methane gas from the estate’s biogas – in addition to a wood chip plant with 600 kW.
With this equipment, the total energy demands of Schloss Hohenkammer are met. The power output of 385 kW is fed into the public grid.
There are apartments for employees and trainees on the castle grounds and Gut Eichethof. In addition, various commercial enterprises, such as “Marktgesellschaft der Naturlandbetriebe”, “Naturland Landesverband Bayern” and “Intersaat-Zucht” are located on Gut Eichethof, and “Bayern Innovativ” and the agency “Zeitklänge” both reside in the Baroness Villa.
4 single family detached houses
4 two and more bedroom flats
10 one bedroom flats
600 sqm commercial premises – Gut Eichethof
460 sqm commercial premises – Baronessvilla
1,000 sqm storage space