Chickens and rabbits hopping and hopping around, in the middle a few mini pigs. Julian already knows this. He pushes his way past, crawls into the wooden chicken house. The three-and-a-half year old female what he wants. Stobern links, stobern rechts "juuuhuuuuuu!" Already the head of the dreikasehoch appears in the low tower frame. Pure, wide-cheeked joy. He presents an egg in his hand.
"Julian's favorite pastime is egg hunting. He does that every day, and is all excited when he finds one", laughs grandpa jurgen tenhumberg. He came to birkenreuth from trier with his wife dorothe and his son helge's family to enjoy nature, cycling and his loved ones for two weeks. After the first week: "I'm completely happy here."
Farm vacations – peter hofmann (49) has been offering this for over 30 years. It was the first step from his parents' part-time farm to a full-time business, which currently also provides work for two permanent employees and an intern from uzbekistan. When his father died in 1979, peter was only in ninth grade. He already wanted to take over the farm – only not so fast. No matter: now he had to get to work immediately. With an exceptional permit, he was allowed to complete his agricultural apprenticeship on his own farm. It was manageable at the time: dairy farming with 30 head of cattle and 30 hectares of land. Before he was even a full year old, he began to expand the farm. "Either you do it right or you don't", says hofmann.
Guests from all over germany
At first he struggled to build a shell that was planned as a new home. With a subsidy from "vacation on the farm he built first one, then more vacation apartments in it. When the building was finished after six years, it stood as a mere guesthouse, and work continued on the dilapidated farmhouse opposite it. At the end of the 80s, peter hofmann had also renovated the. Vacationers from all over germany – mostly upper middle class – became an important mainstay.
But the accommodation, which has a three-star rating, must also be regularly modernized. In addition to a 120-square-meter apartment for a large family, four half-size apartments for a maximum of four people are also offered. In the smaller apartments of the "wiesenthof", helge tenhum two people pay 40 euros per day, and each additional person over the age of three costs another 8 euros. The organ is rented from easter until the autumn vacations in november and during christmas. "We are fully booked about 160 days a year", says susanne braun-hofmann (44), wife of peter hofmann.
The general interest in vacations in the countryside has grown steadily over the past ten years, confirms karin wittmann, chairwoman of the "farm vacations in french switzerland" association, 51 companies from the counties of bayreuth and forchheim have joined forces in this project. New "farm vacations" are now available for farms with a farming background, but without actively practiced agriculture. The state association is thus reacting to the development that farming is being phased out on many farms. The bookings should be kept high in this way – not only by families, but also by married couples and senior citizens.
This spring, the providers still complained about the thirsty occupancy rate due to the bad weather. But that has come to an end. Wittmann: "the gaps that were still there at the beginning of june are now well filled."
Be there when the cow calves
The vacationer from trier, jurgen tenhumberg, has already booked in december. The information on the internet has not changed – in birkenreuth is real country life. "We have also been where three goats were the whole farm", helge tenhumberg wrinkles his nose. Farmer peter hofmann weib: "quality is important to the vacationers, but even more important are a contact person and an experience. The people want to be involved in the life of the country, for example when a calf runs away or a cow calves, as happened a few weeks ago, and they are happy to go along."
The leisure activities are varied and range from trampolining and campfires in the garden to the games barn with table tennis and table football and the small animal enclosure directly in front of the guesthouse, which is not only popular with julian. There are carriage rides and, of course, wi-fi in the rooms. Daughter theresa (14) shows how to ride ponies, and son lenz (9) invites you to a kettcar race. "We have specialized in small children, so that we have enough guests even in the low season", explains braun-hofmann.
Most came for the children. But not only. Braun-hofmann: "people are looking for an ideal world here, for a down-to-earth, rural lifestyle." But some people also had wrong ideas. "That we have three cows with bells and still milk them by hand", says the farmer and shakes her head. Her goal is to be authentic and to convey the real agricultural world. "Feeding rabbits, mucking out horses, taking a ride on the wheel loader – the vacation children are welcome there. But a functioning farm needs a certain operational coarseness and modern technology."
Japanese stud bulls
Both are clearly visible at hofmanns. For example, the mother cow farm (since 1999) with 200 cattle, which five, six years ago on the breeding of "jura-wagyu" the switch was made. They cross three japanese stud bulls (advantages: easy calving, well marbled meat) with native fleckvieh (advantages: good milk yield, coarser frame, in other words: more meat) to combine the advantages of both breeds. Or the 180 hectares of land mainly with cereals and grasses. Or the photovoltaic system on almost all the roofs of the present.
Or the biogas plant (built in 2006), which can now supply 800 households with electricity. Or a drying plant (built in 2008). This proprietary development uses the waste heat from the biogas plant to "dry all kinds of skimmings". Further innovations in the certified organic farm are already in preparation. Peter hofmann laughs and points to his wife: "i have the ideas, she slows me down."
Clearing up on monday
Susanne Braun-Hofmann explains all these details to the newly arrived guests every monday at 10 a.M. During a guided tour of the birkenreuth facility. "We do this so that our guests understand that we work in a sustainable way, and so that they see agriculture with different eyes. After that they also know that we do not have so much time for them." Jurgen tenhumberg was very impressed by the tour: "i was surprised to see that the company is so diversified."
Meanwhile, anna, the daughter-in-law, emphasizes the "very high recreational value" in birkenreuth, and that "everything is so child-friendly" is. "It's absolutely not boring here", she says, looking at her son, who is still proudly examining his egg.
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