Starting All Over Again
Is it ever too late to start over again? To pursue a life more exciting and vibrant? Even if it means delving into the unknown?
For Luise Naderer, a mechanical engineer with decades of experience, her answers to these questions were all “yes.” With nearly 25 years under her belt, Naderer quit her job and launched a new career as an organic farmer. It surely was not an easy decision to make, yet she pulled through with courage and determination.
“I worked in automotive, agricultural engineering, aircraft engineering and medical technology, among others” Naderer said. “At the end of the 1990s, I realized I no longer wanted to continue on this path. I was tired of a monotonous life in the office and eager to be in nature more. I made up my mind and quit. This decision transformed my life.”
Naderer worked to obtain a trade license and attended numerous seminars at the University of Applied Science in Weihenstephan (Germany) for garden maintenance. She then started her own small business, a home and garden service. She bought a meadow orchard near Riedenburg, Germany, and launched a career as an orchardist in 2007. Since then, Naderer has turned Luisengärten (aka. Luise’s Garden) into a thriving apple orchard and a top producer of pure apple juice made from heirloom apple varieties.
“My first year as an orchardist was a great success. The orchard yielded so much fruit that I did not know where to put it. That’s when the idea of pressing pure apple juice from historic apple varieties gradually emerged,” she said. “This turned out to be a gamechanger, leading to the successes I have today.”
Currently, Naderer farms around 11 hectares of land with approximately 500 apple trees and 150 pear trees. A mower from AS-Motor is one of her main tools on the job site. She uses an AS 940 Sherpa 4WD that has played a vital role in properly maintaining and preserving the orchard, which contains both open meadows and numerous fruit trees.
“My Sherpa is used twice a year for mowing the meadows and undergrowth. Once in June and then again in late autumn,” Naderer explained. “The powerful AS-Motor mower helps me maneuver through the orchard with ease. There are many steep slopes in my orchard, and they never slow down the Sherpa during operation. The revs remain the same, despite the slopes, and the mowing result is always excellent.”
Naderer has taken to finding land that’s not being used and converting it to orchard. She noticed usable spaces inside the “dorfallmenden” (areas owned by local municipalities) that were created by the Main-Tauber- Channel construction that connects the Main and Tauber rivers in Germany. She started making lease requests to use the land and now grows apples on it.
Naderer’s Sherpa is an essential tool when she prepares these new spaces for farming. Before she can start, all the undergrowth needs to be cleared out. Due to the power of the Sherpa and B&S Professional Series B engine, Naderer can easily clean out the field on her own.
“Once I had a new area and it was pure jungle. It was so neglected that only the treetops could be seen,” she said. “My Sherpa did splendid work cleaning up the field. All I did was throttle into the undergrowth. My Sherpa handles everything. For my purposes, there is no better vehicle on the market.”
In harmony with nature
As an organic farmer with sustainability in mind, Naderer strives to work with nature in harmony. During the first mowing of each year, Naderer intentionally leaves a few stripes of grass uncut for preserving habitats for insects and small animals. She reuses clippings and apple cores to fertilize the land or to feed sheep that graze on the land.
The flexibility of the Sherpa mower makes it an excellent supporter of her environmental efforts. By removing the upper mulching blade on the Sherpa, she is able to get higher cuts so that the growth can be used for sheep food. She also drives at half speed so that no small animals are in danger of being injured.
“The vibration announces my arrival to the small animals and gives them enough time to escape. The animals that don’t run away would not get hurt either, as I never mow on the lowest step. Slowworms, frogs and grass snakes remain unharmed,” Naderer said. “The special appeal of my work is that I have to accept nature as it is.”
Luisengärten produces over 20,000 liters of apple juice in a good year. With that kind of success, it’s clear that turning her life upside down to launch a new career was a good move.
"Today I am healthier and freer,” she said. “Most importantly, I get to do something that I am truly passionate about — work in harmony with nature.”