Burgenland, Austria’s easternmost state, has a fairy-tale backstory of emperors and castles. Its modern story is more delicious. The sunny countryside produces rare tomatoes, organic lamb, and 90 percent of the country’s wine.
Erich Stekovics studied to be a priest before turning his devotion to tomatoes. He has spent years combing the globe for near-forgotten seeds and now cultivates more than 3,200 varieties. For summer, Stekovics recommends the sugary black plum tomatoes, which you can pick up, along with chutneys, at his farm shop. Farm tours at 4 p.m., July 13 through September 9. Call for reservations. This appeared in the July/August 2012 issue.
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In Austria, tomatoes are often called “paradise apples,” and Erich Stekovics can tell you why. His estate on Lake Neusiedl is dedicated solely to the careful farming of some 3,200 varieties, which benefit from the surprisingly mild climate and 300 days of golden sun-shine with which the area is blessed. Erich Stekovics has certainly turned his passion into a job. He employs somewhat unconventional methods when growing his fruit, as he doesn’t water the plants or tie them up. Immediately after picking, they are transformed into the most delicious sauces and chutneys, allowing you to take his love for fresh produce home with you.