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In North Rhine-Westphalia there are around 380 farms that, among other things, grow asparagus on an area of ​​currently around 4200 hectares.

But only around half a dozen of these farms have a special offer: private individuals can grow and prick their own asparagus on rented space.

One of them is the Schulze Blasum farm owned by the Laurenz family in Werne.

Katharina Laurenz reports on what experiences she has had with the hobby farmers.

WORLD:

Ms. Laurenz, you can rent a few dams on your farm and then harvest asparagus for your own consumption.

How did you come up with the idea?

Katharina Laurenz:

The idea came to us last year.

The background was that at the time, due to the beginning corona pandemic, it was unclear whether our long-term harvest workers from Romania would be able to arrive on time.

In the end, it was still possible to enter the country by plane at the end of March, so that we could start the season as usual.

In addition to asparagus, we also grow strawberries, most of which have to be harvested manually.

Since the response to our self-piercing campaign was so positive, we decided to continue offering it.

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WORLD:

How did it go last year?

Laurenz:

At that time we calculated a little too low, at five euros per meter.

For us it was more of a grant business.

This time we take 9.50 euros per meter, the minimum rental size is ten meters.

Now it's worth it for everyone involved.

And we also offer our customers a wonderful experience that is also very popular with families with children.

They come to us in the fields from Münster, Dortmund, Werne, Hamm and Selm.

WORLD:

What do your customers get for it?

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Laurenz:

You get your own piece of asparagus ridge for the 2021 season. The harvest time is from mid-April to around mid-May, daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WORLD:

What yields can the hobby farmers get from the soil during this time?

Laurenz:

We assume around two to three kilograms of asparagus per meter and season.

The tool is provided by us, and detailed instructions for pricking the asparagus are also provided.

We shot an explanatory video with my husband and created a handout.

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WORLD:

You have to keep an eye on the plants and know when they can be pricked, right?

Laurenz:

That's right.

The asparagus that goes on sale must have a certain length and thickness.

And it shouldn't bloom and turn purple at the front either.

This is the case when it gets too much sunlight.

But this is only a visual question and has no influence on the taste, so it is not so important for hobby farmers.

It is important, however, not to damage the mother plant when pricking, which is invisibly pushing a pole towards the next harvest about 30 centimeters below the surface.

WORLD:

What are the physical and manual challenges?

Laurenz:

It's hard work, which at the beginning can also be accompanied by blisters and back pain.

But it's more of a hobby for our customers, they don't have to work as hard as our great professional asparagus pickers.

WORLD:

How long can be harvested?

Laurenz:

How long a field can be harvested depends primarily on the weather and, of course, on how it is treated and cared for.

We therefore keep an eye on the condition of the field, the plants and the dams and inform the tenants with sufficient advance notice when the harvest time is nearing the end.

So that you can really use the last few days again.

Officially, the asparagus season ends on June 24th with St. John's Day.

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WORLD:

How many hobby farmers have already registered?

Laurenz:

We have around 100 new farmers on our farm.

After the registration period from March 1st to March 13th, we were fully booked relatively quickly, there are no more sections to rent for this year.

WORLD:

But you can still come to you to try it out.

Asparagus farmer Katharina Laurenz from Werne

Source: private

Laurenz:

Exactly. We offer self-piercing by weight on three Sundays during the season. On May 16, 30 and June 6, from 10.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. You can come by without registering. After the work is done, the hobby asparagus pickers pay for their harvest - very similar to picking them yourself in the strawberry field.

Katharin

a La

urenz, 32, was born in

Bad Oldesloe

and grew up in Schleswig-Holstein. In 2014 she moved to

Münsterland,

where her husband Johannes Laurenz runs the family's farm, the couple has a daughter. Her main

job is part-time for an authority

active. She also helps her husband with the organization and planning on the farm in Werne. Before the couple started

growing strawberries and asparagus in

2013

, Johannes Laurenz had worked for a large asparagus and strawberry company for several years.

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