Sustainable organic exotics for Tirol’s plates
Daniel Flock breeds little white tigers in Hall in Tirol. And they are swimming in the purest Tyrolean mountain spring water.
With its White Tiger prawns, the ‘Alpengarnele’ company sets new standards in sustainable delights.
It is half past seven in the morning. Daniel Flock slips into his bright yellow rubber boots and puts on a white doctor’s coat. The ’rounds’ of his protégés are about to begin. In the 40-metre-long hall there is still dim twilight and a climate that is otherwise only known from the jungle: 28 degrees and high humidity that conjures up little beads of water on the skin. Now it’s time to wake up the ‘little white tigers’. Very gently, of course. Because white tiger shrimp are sensitive creatures. That’s why Daniel simulates a tropical sunrise for the delicate crustaceans every day. Several hundred thousand of them cavort in Daniel’s tank. ‘We are now able to bring 10 tonnes of the finest shrimp onto Tyrol’s plates every year,’ says the young entrepreneur with pride. And rightly so. Because what he has set up here together with his great cousin over the last six years is a prime example of entrepreneurial innovation and sustainable regional management.
Zero chemistry. Zero antibiotics. Only nature..
The passion for underwater animals has accompanied Daniel Flock and Markus Schreiner since childhood: ‘As long as I can remember, we had aquariums at home. We also often went fishing.‘ It was a TV documentary that finally put a (water)flare in the ears of the two young Tyroleans. ‘The conditions in Asian shrimp farms are hardly imaginable. The title ‘Dirty Shrimps’ hit it very accurately.‘ Soon the then 21-year-old had the desire to do better. Much better. Chemicals, medicines and long transport routes should finally be a thing of the past with the ‘Alpine shrimps’. No sooner said than done. In 2015, Daniel and Markus put a small test facility into operation. A good six years later, their Alpenaquafarm Tirol GmbH found the perfect location at the former barracks building in Hall. The tinkering, thinking and not least the idealism have paid off. Litopenaeus vannamei, as the white tiger prawn is known in scientific terms, feels at home in Tirol – well, like a fish in water.
Tyrolean mountain water as a good nursery
The fact that the little crustaceans grow and thrive so magnificently here is due not least to the excellent water quality. ‘The Tyrolean water is perfect for our shrimp because of its high mineral content,’ Daniel explains and continues his tour through his ‘sacred halls’. He has been on his way for 45 minutes now. Even though a lot of high-tech has been built into and around the water basins, shrimp farming is and remains a good deal of time-consuming manual work. Again and again, Daniel carefully reaches into the mountain-crystal-clear, ‘bacherlwarm’ water, his trained eye observing the delicate, almost transparent little animals in the palm of his hand. The smallest are barely the size of a pinhead. It takes an average of six months for a tiny larva to become a shrimp ready for consumption. In between, they are allowed to gorge themselves on a special organic food. ‘The portions are, of course, always age-appropriate and precisely tailored to the needs,’ explains Daniel Flock, smiling as he lets a stately specimen, a good 20 centimetres long, slide back into the tank.
The good conscience eats with you
The Alpengarnelen team is not only committed to animal welfare. Sustainability is not just a marketing slogan here, it is the company’s philosophy. The water is one hundred percent ecologically treated. In addition to certain strains of bacteria, special mineral filters are used. Markus and Daniel had a photovoltaic system built on the roof. ‘In the summer months, we are completely self-sufficient in energy,’ he explains: ‘On average, we don’t consume more than a single-family house.’ The latter is a good keyword. Especially in the last few months, demand from private households has increased enormously. ‘More and more people are recognising the value of a regional, sustainably produced product and want to do something good for themselves and the planet.‘ The local gastronomy has long since discovered Alpine prawns for itself. The clientele ranges from gourmet kitchens to middle-class Tyrolean inns. By the way, the Alpine prawns are only delivered chilled, never frozen. This not only saves energy, but is also good for the taste. Speaking of which: we still want to know how Daniel Flock prefers to eat his prawns. The answer is as simple as it is ingenious. ‘Sautéed hot in olive oil. With a squeeze of lemon. And the best way to cook the carcass is to make a fine fish soup‘. How fortunate that Alpenaquafarm Tirol GmbH has always made its own soup. This not only pleases the palate, but also the environment.
The Alpenaquafarm Tirol GmbH is a member of the Green Filming database Marketplace Tirol. There you will find products and services from regional and sustainable Tyrolean companies that can be used for your film production.
Moreover, the Alpenaquafarm Tirol GmbH is a Tyrolean success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more success stories here (in German only).