Sepp Brandstätter and his native Gailtal Valley white maize
  • Kötschach-Mauthen
SFT_Nudl Kudl Mudl Grünwald_(c) www.slowfood (14) | © MarianneDaberer
Slow Food Travel Alpe Adria
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The native Gailtal Valley white maize was almost extinct when the dedicated mountain guide and farmer Sepp Brandstätter discovered it. You could say Sepp Brandstätter is a likeable determined man. Inspired by the idea of establishing completely gluten-free farming, he gives the native Gailtal Valley white maize a good boost! Of course, this is also about preserving this old, original variety from our region. And he has also been a bit lucky, because he was able to tap into his father's knowledge at the right moment.

The original maize as the answer for allergy sufferers

About 1% of today’s world population suffers from what is known as "coeliac disease". It is a disease that, in some circumstances, is triggered by eating foods containing gluten. Then, for example, the consumption of wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt and einkorn wheat causes damage to the mucous membrane of the small intestine.

And this is exactly where the original maize, the native Gailtal Valley white maize, comes into play. In the past, the original maize had to give way to the higher-yielding hybrid varieties. Today it is in demand above all because it is completely gluten-free and therefore very well tolerated by allergy sufferers. 

However, in order to cultivate the old Gailtal Valley maize again, the right soil was needed - free of artificial fertiliser, of course! Now the resistant and absolutely GMO- and gluten-free grain is growing again around Brandstätter's farm in Würmlach, and the nutrients for it come only from natural sources.

The farmer is happy to show his Slow Food Travel visitors what to look out for in cultivation and harvesting, how to separate the grains from the cobs and what tasty products are made from them. And there is still enough time to taste the fine, nutty polenta together.



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