Welcome to Organic Castle
Located in the middle of the idyllic Westerwald forest, at Organic Castle we grow medicinal herbs and vegetables on more than 1,800 square metres of usable land. At the foot of the Westerburg castle in the village of the same name in Rhineland-Palatinate with 5,600 inhabitants, food, ingredients for medicines and natural cosmetics are produced here. Strictly according to the principles of organic and ecological farming and without the use of CO2-producing equipment.
We started in the early summer of 2018 with a plot of land that has not been cultivated for more than 20 years. A wild undergrowth of trees, bushes, ivy and nettles has developed from the former meadow on a slope.
The first idea to remove this wild growth and to process it on the compost was discarded after only a few hours on the property. Why dispose of valuable plants that have thrived here for decades without chemical fertilization and any human influence? So the plan was born to make something very special out of this piece of nature – Organic Castle.
Westerburg in Germany
The city of Westerburg is located in the Westerwald, 50 kilometers east of the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz and 100 kilometers from Frankfurt am Main. The nearest motorway is just under 25 kilometres away, so there is correspondingly little traffic here. The property itself can only be reached on foot due to the hillside location. Thus the old walls of the Westerburg stand in the upper area and at the lower end it is bounded by a natural brook. While driving bans are being discussed in the big cities, we enjoy the clean air at work and at the same time reach all facilities and shops in less than 10 minutes by foot. Life in the countryside and yet in the middle of the city.
Organic farming has an origin
After more than 40 years of city life and a previous career in IT, the needs for crowded city centres, car traffic, business trips and meetings have been met. More than that, a strong longing for nature arose. This was fulfilled in the last years by countless walks with my dog passively – only as a consumer. With this property I can now also actively participate in nature. And at the same time contribute to sharing the products of this natural spot of the earth with the whole world.
I have never been a vegetable lover, nor have I been a person greeted by name in a perfumery or drugstore. My visits there were too rare and above all not for myself. The awareness of healthy nutrition has developed in recent years and is growing continuously. Instead of eating in restaurants and cooking simple dishes to save time, healthy food is now on the plate. It is not only the origin that matters to me, but also the freshness of the ingredients and their nutrient content. A similar development applies to the area of care and medicine. Instead of enjoying coffee in the waiting room as a private patient and then swallowing expensive pills, I see that many diseases can be alleviated and possibly also avoided by a healthy diet and care. Creams and cleaning agents do not have to convince through television advertising and triple packaging, but through their effect and tolerance.
Inspired by the microgardens in France and North America
In France, the USA and Canada, there has been a movement for some years now in which people have consciously turned to organic farming. Gardens with lawns and flowers are sold to vegetable gardeners and the products are sold directly on the farm and at nearby markets. In a big city like Paris or Montreal, this is undoubtedly possible because the number of inhabitants with an interest in healthy products is high. In a city with just five and a half thousand inhabitants, however, the absolute number of interested customers is significantly lower and makes work in the main occupation unprofitable and thus impossible in the long term.
The desire to turn the property into such a microgarden on the one hand and the need for an income on the other led to many thoughts about the possibilities. No thought was good or bad right from the start. The ideas ranged from pure organic vegetable production and the combination with small animal breeding to the use of free areas for the breeding of forage animals for reptile farmers.
Herbs, teas and cosmetics and preserves
After several iterations of the thoughts about the use I finally decided. To dream for a while is nice, but the realization is at least as important. Real artists ship.
Today the following products are produced at Organic Castle:
- Medicinal herbs as fresh and dry goods
- Oils, tinctures, creams and soaps
- Preserved vegetables and chutneys
- Dried vegetables
In the blog I regularly report about the developments on the property. This includes not only many photos, but also reports of successes and setbacks associated with the cultivation and use of the crops.