Margaret von Korff, owner of Cas Gasi, a luxury boutique hotel and organic farm set on four hectares of land in a secluded location in Ibiza’s countryside, is taking sustainability to the next level as she prepares for the 2022 season.
With dedication to the environment and an ongoing focus on wellness that should resonate with consumers looking for outdoor experiences, von Korff and her team have re-designed the on-site vegetable garden to a “No-Dig” system, which will make the vegetable plot more of a garden-like space in which guests can walk around, eat and relax among the bounty of Ibiza’s nature.
The organic produce grown on the land goes from farm to table, with the hotel’s restaurant providing long, romantic tables strewn among the olive groves and under the stars.
The land’s agricultural output also includes jams produced from fruits grown on site, quince paste, tomato sauce, marinated olives, and Cas Gasi’s organic cold pressed olive oil. Naturally, everything can be purchased on site.
As sustainability has remained a core tenet of the Cas Gasi philosophy since its inception when it was converted from an estate some 20 years ago, the advances in the property’s organic agriculture towards “No Dig” is a big step forward. It is followed by energetic auto sufficiency by means of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of Ibizan Palaces. Furthermore, the hotel’s vehicles are all electric and there are several electric chargers on the property for guests.
The food served at the property’s restaurant is essentially all organic and 0 KM, and features plenty of vegan options. Twice a month during the summer season, the hotel hosts farm-to-table evenings for selected guests on the long tables among the olive trees. “Everybody is very excited to see vegetables as protagonists on the plate and discover new, wonderful tastes,” von Korff told HOTELS.
Von Korff is dedicated to reducing noise pollution and Cas Gasi promotes sustainable and clean working habits, going back to the simple broom and pruning scissors. The property has acquired a large, silent shredding machine to shred the pruning waste for the new composting plant with the ultimate aim of creating a perfect circular economy at Cas Gasi.
“We have to act individually to fight back the exploitation of resources in this world,” von Korff said. “There is too much consumption of everything, and everybody knows that this cannot last. Collective movements are good, but political. Individual actions are the real thing.”
Von Korff has never made Cas Gasi’s sustainability-driven actions a unique selling point, as it is a core foundation of the 12-room hotel that she says just felt natural. “Now, so many years later, a growing consciousness for healthy, sustainable food practices has flooded the industry and now every new restaurant or establishment opening is ‘organic’ and ‘farm to table,’” she said. “This new awareness is very positive. However, the commercial aspect stands very much in the foreground.”
No dig approach
Von Korff and her team decided to set up an organic gardening and vegetable production with a system called ’no dig,’ developed by a lead innovator of organic and no dig gardening since 1983.
There are 3 key facets of the no dig method:
- Soil is undisturbed so its organisms can work and multiply
- Organisms are fed with organic matter on the surface, as in nature, but faster. Nutrients become available when needed by plants through a combination of air and soil temperatures beginning high enough for photosynthesis to happen.
- No dig increases the ability of plants to find food – it’s about biology (such as fungi) more than chemistry (nutrients/minerals). It’s about feeding the soil, not the plants.
Problems diminish with “no dig” and gardening becomes easier, particularly because weeds grow less, since their healing properties are not needed by healthy soil, von Korff explained. “The added value of the lay-out in beds is that they will become a beautiful garden where guests can walk around or have lunch next to the aubergines, or just relax in one of the quiet corners throughout the vegetable gardens.”
When asked about investment and ROI of Cas Gasi’s sustainability endeavors, von Korff said it’s a non-quantified long-term return for the investment – there will be no immediate return. “We are committed to good practices and protection of the environment, and hope to set an example for generations to come,” she added. “Long-term investments define an attitude in life, as opposed to the immediate return seekers, who exploit the resources without giving back. We deeply care about the environment and get pleasure by being part of the process.”