Talking about beef with Sandra Mächler, Ramiswil

Sandra Mächler and Roman Ackermann, together with their two daughters Sonja and Gabriela, run the Guldenthal inn and farm in Ramiswil at the Scheltenpass.

On the pastures of Sandra Mächler and Roman Ackermann, animals of the Tux-Zillertal breed use their own feed to make very good meat. (Photo: zVg)

Beef.ch will take place at your restaurant and farm from August 24th to 26th. What does that mean for you?

Beef.ch is a big challenge for us. Although we regularly serve small and large companies in our restaurant and are well equipped for this, we have decided to design the entire catering for this event ourselves. If there are actually 2,000 or more visitors, then of course that stretches us. But we would also be very happy about it, after all, we would like to bring as many people as possible closer to beef.ch and suckler cow husbandry so that they can learn more about the meat they consume.

Do you think there is a need here?

Yes, I notice that every day in contact with the guests in our restaurant. I am always asked questions about meat and animal husbandry. I like these conversations and like to explain that, for example, feeding affects meat quality.

How does that look on your farm?

We have had suckler cows for six years. Before we had breeding cattle in the contract, but then we wanted to have our own product and came to suckler cows almost by accident. We had two cows calved on our farm and I first milked one of the two cows and made butter and cream. This quickly became too much for me and was not worth it because of the small amount, so we let the calves suckle. We liked this picture so much that we decided to switch to suckler cow farming. As to which animals were suitable for our farm, it quickly became clear to us that we wanted a breed that was not too big and not too demanding, which would get along with the feed that grew on our farm. So we came to the Tux-Zillertal, which produce very good meat from hay and grass.

Sandra Mächler and Roman Ackermann with their daughters Sonja and Gabriela.

Sandra Mächler and Roman Ackermann, together with their two daughters Sonja and Gabriela, run the Guldenthal inn and farm in Ramiswil at the Scheltenpass.

The farm is 730 meters above sea level and includes 40 hectares of forest and 31 hectares of meadow and pasture land. Since 2012, 20 suckler cows of the Tux-Zillertal breed have been kept. The young animals are used for breeding and producing Natura beef , which is prepared in the farm's inn or marketed directly from the farm in mixed packages of 15 kilograms.

The Guldenthal inn is open all year round from Thursday to Sunday. More information at www.guldenthal.ch.

Are there only products from your own company in your restaurant?

That would be nice, but French fries and ice cream don't grow with us. But we are already trying to create as many menus as possible with meat from our Natura beef, so I came up with the recipe for the Buure fillet. We also organize a ‘Metzgete’ (slaughter day) twice a year in order to renew people's taste for not so well-known pieces of beef such as tongue, tripe or liver. And we still have a lot of ideas on how we could offer even more of our own products in the future, for example by keeping a few pigs or growing berries for fine desserts ourselves.

How do you organize your work in general and who helps everything?

Up until April this year, my partner and I managed everything in everyday life. We both work in agriculture and hospitality. For larger occasions and on weekends, we can count on support in the inn from local staff. Last winter we fulfilled a long-cherished wish and expanded the inn. Since the reopening on March 1st of this year, the demand has exploded, so we have employed a service specialist since May. However, we still need the temporary help and we are still very happy about our daughters stepping in if there is a need.

Doesn't that get too much for you sometimes?

In our operation, hospitality and agriculture belong together. They go hand in hand and need each other. This suits me admirably. Before I met my partner and came here, I went to z'Alp in the summer and worked in the hospitality industry in the winter. I enjoy haying or watching and caring for the animals. It is a very valuable balance for me that I wouldn’t want to miss.

What is your recipe for success?

My recipe for success is «life», which means to keep moving, to try new ideas and at the same time not to lose grip. This can be an idea for a menu, the expansion of the restaurant, the establishment of a new agricultural branch of business or the running of beef.ch on our farm. My partner and I are a well-coordinated team that understands and complements each other perfectly. For beef.ch, we can also count on the support of the OK, our temporary staff, the Tux-Zillertal breeders and various associations.

What are you particularly looking forward to?

On Friday, 130 schoolchildren will experience suckler cow farming. My partner's cousin is a teacher and has developed a very special programme: each child will make a hamburger in our processing room and can take their own product home at the end of the day. I am sure that this experience will greatly affect the children's relationship with meat.

We cannot offer this experience to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, of course, but workshops and information about the cows and calves exhibited from 9 different breeds will also be valuable in order to convey our concerns. In addition, various music groups, play and childcare options as well as other attractions offer enough variety. And last but not least, the menus we offer should of course speak for themselves: meat from SwissPrimGourmet and Natura Beef against the backdrop of species-appropriate suckler cow husbandry is a treat for the palate, conscience and eye in every form.