SONNENTOR & JOHANNES GUTMANN
Everything started with an idea from Johannes Gutmann in the year 1988. The rest of it is history. In the meantime SONNENTOR is one of the most successful Austrian companies. Although the clocks are ticking differently.
It all started with the fact that Johannes Gutmann loves the Waldviertel region, where he was born, and it is here, where he wanted to be. In the 80s it was common to move away from the countryside and live in the city – but that was not what Johannes had in mind. On the contrary, Hannes wanted to work and live in the Waldviertel.
From the Waldviertel for the Waldviertel.
Taking over the Gutmann farm was out of the question for Johannes. He wanted to take new paths that would benefit not only him but also the region, but especially the farmers who fought for economic survival. Many changed their farms to monocultures, because that was the done thing at the time. Johannes knew that there must be another way. Above all, he was sorry for the splendid herbs that grew in the fields that were plucked and thrown away.
Organic right from the start.
Johannes was already a passionate organic-advocate even before when the word organic existed. In the 1980s, there was not much thought given to food - where it came from, what was in it and how it was grown. Johannes, however, had a feeling that organic farming is the best path for health, the environment and our future. And so, he had an inspiring idea.
An idea that was not received with open arms or enthusiasm: Distributing regional organic products under a traditional Waldviertel symbol - the sun with its 24 rays. His idea was ridiculed back in 1988. But this didn’t deter Johannes. As a one-man company, the then 23-year-old, started to travel from farmer’s market to farmer’s market, selling his herbs. Soon, he became well known, not just because of his organic products which were a success, but also because of his traditional leather pants that he had inherited from his family, and round red glasses.
Slowly, he won over some farmers for his herb business. Grandma Zach, the Bauer family and Kurt Kainz were the first to believe in Johannes. Today, more than 200 farmers belong to the SONNENTOR Family.
Also in Romania, the SONNENTOR brand stands for transparency and added value for the future.
From early on, Csaba Szakacs, our local cultivation partner, has set himself the goal of becoming the first approved Romanian Demeter company. He achieved this ambitious goal in 2004. Good yields enabled him to expand his growing area to more than 100 hectares. The company location of the established trade company, SONNENTOR S.R.L., is also the location of Csaba Szakacs in Reghin. Many harvest helpers now find work in this region and ten permanent workplaces have been created. The main herbs grown in Romania are marigolds, cornflowers, rose hips, special rose varieties and many other kitchen herbs.