Delicious regional products – what comes from home, tastes simply fantastic!
Where, when and above all from whom can I buy high-quality products from the region? The new platform 'Marketplace Wilder Kaiser' now provides information about this.
‘Regional’ is the trend, there’s no question about that. While many have only learned to appreciate the ‘Hofladl’ around the corner due to Corona, lockdown and restricted access to trade, the Wilder Kaiser region has known for a long time what its numerous and diverse producers have to offer. The diversity and quality of regional products, as well as the interaction between agriculture and tourism, have been repeatedly addressed, not least in the context of the citizen participation project ‘Quality of Life at the Wilder Kaiser’. This is now being taken into account and the ‘marketplace’ is opening its doors.
What is the Marketplace Wilder Kaiser?
In a first step, the regional suppliers and their products are brought before the curtain. Often people know what their immediate neighbour produces, but they are less aware that the farmer’s wife two villages away not only has good bacon, but also fine felt slippers. Therefore, it was clear that the basis of the project is a directory of regional producers and suppliers. Information is now available online at www.wilderkaiser.info/marktplatz. The platform is not closed and is still open to all regional producers and suppliers who want to present themselves and their products there.
One of these farms is the Keilhof in Söll: 450 ‘Söller Wanderhennen’ live there in two mobile sheds, where they protect five dwarf goats from the hawk, in line with the approach ‘animals help animals’, as 26-year-old young farmer Julia Hölzl explains the innovative approach of the organic family farm. Once a week, hens and goats move with their mobile quarters – so they always have ‘fresh’ run. ‘It is especially important to us that our hens are doing well,’ says Julia. The products of the house – from eggs to pasta to raw milk – are sold directly from the ‘wedge cupboard’, which is open 24 hours a day and functions on a basis of trust with a cash register for depositing money.
Animal welfare is also a top priority for Christian Wallner at Blaikenhof in Going. In 2016, the 24-year-old, who works full-time as a forester, took over the farm in the fourth generation. A lot has changed since then: While there were once nine dairy cows living in the barn behind the old farmhouse, today you can find 30 Wagyu cattle there, which are known for their marbled, extremely high-quality meat. Accordingly, the barn was expanded last year, and the sales room should also be ready by the end of this year. You can buy steaks and co. – individually packaged and shock-frozen – even now: Simply pre-order via the website or call and come by. ‘It is important to us that the customers see for themselves how the animals live and how well they are doing with us,’ says Christian. But in order to get there at all, you first have to know that this special beef is available in Going.
Portraits and content development
This is exactly where the ‘Marketplace’ comes in – as a first step, it wants to provide an overview of existing producers and products. Building on this directory, the ‘Marketplace’ project will continue to grow in the coming months. On the one hand, the participating producers will be portrayed on the Wilder Kaiser blog and on social media with their products, stories and access, on the other hand, the project will of course also grow in terms of content and structure. Because when it comes to processing the regional quality products, the – currently closed – gastronomy businesses in the region also play an important role. The integration into the ‘Strategy 2024’ of the Wilder Kaisertourist board also shows how central the importance of the topic is. ‘Regionality, and here especially the interaction of agriculture and tourism, has always been a defining theme of our citizens’ dialogues,’ says Managing Director Lukas Krösslhuber. ‘Guests as well as locals would like to buy more special food directly from the producers. But many don’t know who offers what and where – we are closing this gap with the Wilder Kaiser Marketplace. In the future, every host will have a simple answer to their guests’ question: Where can I buy regional specialities here?‘
Consumption of regional products creates jobs
The topic of ‘regionality’ is not just about quality and culinary enjoyment – regional production is also a factor that should not be underestimated when it comes to value creation and jobs. For example, a study published by the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz in May 2020 provides impressive figures: If Austrians were to buy 20 % more local food instead of products from far away, this would mean an increase of 46,000 jobs and an additional economic output of 4.6 billion euros. Although this calculation refers to the whole of Austria, the enormous effect of increased consumption of regional products can also be seen in these figures ‘on a small scale’.
Analysis: Proximity, trust, awareness
Also on an ’emotional’ level, science provides interesting background information on the ‘boom’ of regional food, especially in times of crisis. The Department of Trade, Sales and Marketing at the JKU, for example, deals in a series of articles with shopping behaviour in times of the corona virus. The central finding on the importance of regional offerings: ‘Proximity’ is a lever for trust, which influences our shopping behaviour especially in times of crisis. The analysis not only looks at the present, but also at what will remain of this ‘trend’ after the corona crisis. According to the analysis, regional products will influence 44 % of consumers (18-75 years) in their choice of grocery shop even more than in ‘pre-Covid times’, the origin of products will become (even) more important for 41 % of Austrians when shopping in stationary retail. And don’t forget: ‘Proximity’ in this context is not only to be considered spatially – the low psychological and social distance in relation to the regionality of the products, but also the knowledge of the trader, play a central role.
‘Sign of appreciation’
This brings us back to the Marketplace Wilder Kaiser, which is based precisely on this proximity and trust in local producers. ‘With the ‘Marketplace’ project we want to create a sustainable opportunity for producers and consumers to come into direct contact and at the same time set an example of appreciation for our excellent regional products,’ says Tanja Riegler, project manager at the Wilder Kaiser tourist board.
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