They spice up every dish and support a healthy diet – herbs are in demand. In addition to the classic varieties such as chives, basil, parsley and co., more and more exotic dishes with coriander, mint and curried cabbage are being used in German kitchens. The joy of experimenting grows. If you value sustainability, you can now get a great selection of locally grown herbs in organic quality. Master gardener Swen Rankers grows “La’Bio” herbs in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Enjoy healthy and tasty
The preservation of natural resources and a healthy diet are topics that are becoming more and more important for people in Germany. With regionally produced organic herbs, both come together: Environmental protection plays an important role in cultivation, as in conventional cultivation, but genetic engineering and synthetic fertilizers are prohibited in organic cultivation. This makes organic herbs particularly healthy because they contain virtually no nitrates, but are rich in vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting substances such as flavonoids and antioxidants.
Because organic growers do without easily soluble synthetic fertilizers, fruits and vegetables grow a bit more slowly. According to the Federal Nutrition Center, this has a nice side effect: The products contain up to 20 percent less water, so they tend to have a more intense flavor and better texture. This favors companies such as the Rankers horticultural business in Straelen, North Rhine-Westphalia. The family business grows more than 100 different organic herbs and therefore offers a variety of tasty dishes and relaxing teas throughout the year. Since many varieties are also considered medicinal plants, they are also used as bath additives, for ointments and tinctures.
More work for the gardener
“We have many regular customers who care not only about a sustainable product, but also about the business and production behind it,” reports Rankers, who runs the business together with his sister, parents and uncle. Responsible consumers keep an eye on the ecological footprint and are happy to pay a little more for an organic product from North Rhine-Westphalia. “This is necessary because organic farming means more work for the gardener.” Pest infestation must be avoided because there are few organic active ingredients that have an after effect. For example, some plant lice can be controlled with beneficial insects. “But once there’s a large population of lice, the plants are lost to us organic gardeners,” explains Rankers.
Biodiversity is a matter of the heart
Fertilization is also more complicated. For example, an ornamental gardener can specifically speed up flower formation with potash. Synthetic fertilizers can be precisely dosed. “However, organic gardeners use organic products whose natural composition and effect always varies.” The effort is worth it, because the success proves the reason for the traditional company, which started with the organic cultivation of herbs fifteen years ago. The plants are strictly and continuously controlled and certified by the organic control body DE-ÖKO-006 ABCert in Esslingen. And because holistic action is important to Rankers, they don’t just care about their own business and products. Among other things, the family is committed to combating insect mortality. Colorful strings of flowers adorn the farm every year and attract nectar collectors. Last year the company invested in a grassy rest area for cyclists and insects. Both humans and insects can help themselves here.
In addition, the horticulture business has been donating two cents from every LA’BiO! Plant association Naturefund eV The non-profit nature conservation organization buys land around the world to preserve habitats for a diversity of animals and plants. Last year alone, 70,000 euros were raised through the sale of herbs. “So if you buy herbs from sustainable home crops, you can do good in many ways,” Swen Rankers explains the sustainable concept for success. Source: GMH/LV NRW