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Photo: Jan Riephoff

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Eleven hectares of fertile land

The "Börde-Gärtnerei" in Erxleben

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Saxony-Anhalt is where Barbara Dümpelfeld and Helmut Zacharia cultivate heirloom plant varieties in the highest quality.

"Black earth", says Barbara Dümpelfeld with a twinkle in her eye. She looks down at the field below her feet. The 56-year-old farmer doesn't mind the rain dripping from her face. "92 ground points", she says with a smile. This is the reason why the Börde-Gärtnerei exists. One hundred ground points is the maximum. A patch of sandy soil may perhaps reach 18 points. The rich soil is what made Barbara Dümpelfeld and her partner Helmut Zacharia decide to build an organic nursery in Erxleben in 1999.

The couple are both late bloomers. Zacharia was in his late twenties when he became aware of his green thumb. At that time he was managing a kibbutz nursery in Israel that was so successful, it produced more vegetables than the community could use. Back in Germany, he studied horticulture and took over outdoor management of a Demeter nursery. His girlfriend Barbara trained as a master agriculturist.