At Kartause Ittingen we still practice the monastic tradition of self-sufficiency, creating as many products on our farm with our own produce as we can.
Comprising 66 ha of farming land, 32 ha of forest and a mountain pasture in Toggenburg for summer grazing, our farm is one of the largest in the canton of Thurgau. These are perfect conditions for continuing, to a large extent, the monastic tradition of self-sufficiency. The agriculturally diverse land – divided into 25 ha of open farm land, 29 ha of meadows and pastures, 10 ha of vineyards, 2 ha of fruit trees and 2 ha of hops – is managed in a strictly sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Our stables are deemed to be particularly animal-friendly and meet strict controls at all times.
Kartause Ittingen grows eight different varieties of grapes on 10 ha of vineyards, which are made into excellent wines in our own winery.
The milk from our farm – about 400,000 kg a year – is made into various delicacies in our in-house cheese dairy: nine varieties of cheese as well as yoghurt, butter and pasteurised milk. As we have uninterrupted control of quality and hygiene from the feeding of the cows to the manufacturing of the cheese, we are able to offer our guests and clients exceptional products.
In our in-house butchery, our butcher turns veal, mutton and pork from the farm into Ittingen delicacies. In the monastery shop you will find tasty sausages, as well as meatloaf, cured bacon, veal sausages, pork hock and much more. Stop by and take your pick from our daily changing selection .
Switzerland’s Smallest Rainbow Trout Farm
The rainbow trout are bred in a hatchery after which they are raised in ponds specially designed for that purpose. The fish are reared and cared for by residential home and workshop employees. Managed in line with stringent organic principles, our fish farm is perfect for employees working under supervised care, as they can be given tasks that suit their individual abilities. The trout are raised on certified organic feed exclusively, the ponds are fed by their own source and the number of trout is kept low so as to prevent the use of medicines. The trout are then either smoked in the on-farm smokery to be sold in the shop or delivered directly to the restaurant kitchen.
Farm-Grown Products for our Guests
As our goal is self-sufficiency, we exploit all opportunities to produce products – agricultural or animal – that can be processed and refined on the farm itself. The farm’s organisation is correspondingly diverse.
The recently extended outdoor enclosure for our dairy cattle holds up to 50 cows and 40 heifers. The milk is processed in our own dairy. The silage also comes exclusively from our own farm. In summer the heifers spend a lovely time on our mountain pasture in Toggenburg.
165 happy free-range chickens on the farm ensure that all the fresh egg requirements for the kitchen and the monastery shop are covered with eggs from the farm. Their mobile home, the chicken mobile, is regularly moved a few metres so that the chickens have access to fresh green fodder and protein-rich food without damaging the meadow and over-fertilising the soil. In addition to a bright yellow yolk, this diet gives the eggs a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. The solar system on the chicken mobile ensures a self-sufficient supply of electricity for the lighting, the discharge flaps and the pasture fence.
For the utilization of the whey from the cheese dairy, we also have a tradition of pig farming. To supplement the protein-rich fodder from cheese production, the animals also receive maize from our own cultivation to cover their energy requirements. The meat is processed in our butcher's shop and goes directly into the kitchen or is processed into fine long-life sausages and cold smoked specialities. At present, the stables are being redesigned and rebuilt, so the number of animals has been temporarily reduced.
On some 200 ares of land we produce apples and cider for the production of fruit juice and home-made spirits: Gravenstein apples, quinces, plums, mirabelles and cherries.
Two acres are dedicated to the cultivation of hops, famous for giving Ittingen Amber beer its unparalleled flavour.
Crops are grown in regular crop rotation: winter wheat alternates with rapeseed, sugar beet, silage maize and corn maize, sunflowers, spelt, potatoes and temporary grassland for soil regeneration. A considerable amount of wheat and spelt – 20 tons – are used in our own bakery. Maize and grass remains on the farm as cattle feed, rapeseed and sunflower seed is pressed cold and bottled on the farm.
Meadows and Pastures
Around 29 ha are permanent pastures and meadows. The area where our cows graze daily for 8 months a year take up the most part.
On a surface of 50 ares, we grow tea herbs and other herbs, as well as vegetables and flowers. In the gardens the herbs are grown, cared for, harvested, dried and packaged to be sold in the monastery shop. There are up to 15 sheltered workplaces available in the gardens. The florists use flowers and shrubs from our gardens for their decorations.
18 ha of our land is FSC-certified forest for particularly careful and sustainable management. On a further 14 ha of forest, the canton established its first nature reserve. A considerable part of the sawn wood from Ittingen forest is used in our carpentry shop, the firewood processed and sold through our workshop, made into high quality charcoal in our charcoal production or used as heating material in our wood chip combustion. Some oak stems are turned into wine vats for the production of wine (Ittinger Eiche).