Passion And Challenges Of Vegetable Farming
The BASF Agricultural Center is a few kilometers south of Ludwigshafen in the Rhine valley, nestled in between the Palatinate forest and the Odenwald.
People here lovingly call it the Tuscany of Germany because of the mild weather, abundance of sunshine, beautiful vineyards and great cuisine. What few people know is that this stretch of land is also Germany’s vegetable hub. Salad, tomatoes, cauliflower, radishes, white asparagus and much more grows here.
Rose and Hermann Reber are farmers in this region. They grow lettuce, cauliflower and kohlrabi on almost 100 hectares of land in the small town of Ruchheim. I talked to Rose and Hermann about their passion for farming, their challenges and their hopes for the future.
Passion for farming
Rose left her family’s dairy farm in Northern Germany to join Hermann. The two of them took over his family’s vegetable farm. Asked what motivates her, she answers without hesitation: “It’s the independence. You are your own boss. It’s being outside and doing something that gives you pleasure.” Rose enjoys the work, even the long hours and weekends that come with the growing season. For Hermann, it’s even simpler: “Once a farmer, always a farmer. There was never a doubt that we would take over my parent’s farm.” Now, 30 years later, the Rebers say they have never regretted their decision, despite the challenges.