The biodynamic farm
— Forest and fjord

On the outskirts of Hvitsten, right above Drøbak fjord, Ramme Gaard lies as a gem; a cultural and agricultural paradise, enthralling all its visitors either with its art, plays and famous baroque garden, or its farm grounds, bursting with joyful animals and vibrant vegetables.

As a farm, it is an example of perfection nearly attained; with its extraordinarily diverse host of healthy animals and plants. At Ramme, you will find grain and grass, flowers and herbs, potatoes and vegetables of all sorts imaginable, and from the animal kingdom, cows, pigs, horses, chickens and bees are all thriving, as well as geese, ducks and many exotic birds which are there for the joy of the visitors.

Ramme Gaard has been run organically for almost 30 years, and shows off an exceptional diversity in the crops grown on the farm, and the lucky animals kept there. The farm is open for visitors, and a lot of the produce is sold in the small farm store which is re-stocked every Friday, or served as delicious treats in the farm café, housed in an environmentally friendly straw-bale building with its characteristic onionshaped dome. The store is recommended a visit, with farm fresh eggs, vegetables, herbs, flour and more, only a short ride from Oslo. The café is closed for this year’s season, but will open again next year. Those interested in meat produced with a non-compromising view on quality and animal welfare, should contact Ramme Gaard to order meat from their cattle or swine. Few farms offer products of the same superior standard, and certainly no products found in stores in Norway can compare.

The farm is self-sufficient with feed for its animals, and animal fertilizer for its fields, which is one of the requirements of the Demeter certification Ramme aquired in 2012. It exceeds the organic certification the farm has had since 1985. Demeter certified farms are called biodynamic farms, and biodynamic products are in very high regard among first-class restaurants such as Maaemo, where the chefs prize the products not only for the ecologically sound way they are farmed, but first and foremost for the excellent taste and the high quality biodynamic products possess. There are about thirty-five biodynamic farms in Norway today and few are as large as Ramme.

Since biodynamic farms are required to be self-sufficient with fertilizing manure, the farms as a consequence need to keep animals, predominantly ruminant species and preferably cattle, which can utilize grass and hay and turn this non-human food into high-quality fertilizer, milk and meat. The farm is seen as a living organism, with its internal harmony between its soil, animals and plants, as well as an external harmony with the Earth and the cosmos. Eric Brinkhof and Loes van Alpen are the idealistic farmer couple who strive to make sure Ramme always is the best it can be. It is nothing short of impressive how this farm manages to yield such a cornucopia of exuberant products, all brought forth with the farm’s own resources and minimal input from the outside. Most farms, and conventional ones in particular, rely almost exclusively on resources coming from outside the farm, often having traveled long distances across the globe. Biodynamic farms such as Ramme are in our times painfully rare in this perspective, but one hopes that more and more will realize that this modern development cannot last forever, and is only detrimental to ourselves and the Earth.

All the new buildings at Ramme are heated by a bio-energy plant fuelled with locally produced wood chips, the greenhouses are not heated, and the tractors are run on rapeseed oil. The charming, life affirming attitude, their commitment to saving resources and the environmentally friendly farming practices at Ramme make it one of Norway’s most remarkable and inspiring farms, a leading star for others to follow in order to steward the earth in a sustainable manner for generations to come.

Text: Oda Omholt

Photos: Bandar Abdul-Jauwad