Brunch on the Farm
One thing I love about Zürich is the omnipresence of both the Swiss and Zürich canton flags. Hanging from buildings and homes in the old town and all across the city, along the lake and river, perched proudly on cars and trams, patches sewn into locals’ clothing, bags and other accessories. So you can just imagine my delight during the Swiss holidays when these flags show up in even more guises. They blow in the wind on top of churches, and food products are cooked or baked into the shape of the Swiss cross or in the colors of red and white. Yesterday, August 1st, was the national holiday here, commemorating the Helvetic Confederation’s 718th birthday.
430 farms across the country opened to the public for the holiday with a “Brunch on the Farm.” You reserve a spot, pay around CHF 20 and can enjoy the setting, food, music and any other festivities. We chose a farm with traditional production methods (and animals for my 4 year old nephew to pet!) in the canton of St. Gallen, towards the Austrian border. It was a beautiful drive from Zürich (about an hour), with a truly representative landscape of Switzerland – rolling green hills, so smooth and clean, cows grazing upon them, their bells swaying as they moved about, fields of sunflowers and the entire landscape dotted with the red and white of the Swiss flag. My favorites were the signs off the sides of the road, letting us know we could stop at any time to pick up fresh berries, plums, sunflowers or eggs. Using a system that perhaps might not work as well in the United States – you take what you want and leave money for it. Stands unattended, prices marked, functioning on the honor code. What do you think of that?!
We arrived at the home of Beatrix and Stefan Stark in Schuepis, Waldkirch. On the grounds of beautiful apple orchards and cherry trees, a tent was put up for the occasion. Long tables were piled high with platters of cheese (Appenzeller), dried meats, colorful hard boiled eggs, fresh breads, butter, homemade jams and local honey. Another buffet was set up with Rösti, scrambled eggs and Birchermüsli as well.
The farm brunch would not have been complete without paying a visit to the animals – rabbits, calves, geese, pigs, sheep and (smiling) goats. We said a big thank you to the cows in particular for their delicious milk, which we drank warm, unadorned, and appreciated in the unctuous butter on which we (very) generously spread our bread.
On our way out, we admired the vegetable garden as well, with zucchini flowers, beets, tomatoes, lettuce and carrots. And then we hit the road, direction: Appenzell. A town known for its eponymous cheese, and also for being truly as Swiss as it gets. You’ll see that here, next on the blog…
And don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year; it will be the 18th annual Brunch on the Farm !