The Altes Land is the largest fruit producing region in Central Europe. Thousands descend on these tiny towns straddling the Elbe on the other side of Hamburg, to enjoy the Cherry Blossom and Apple Blossom festivals. Naturally, its hard to choose which farmstead to visit as they are all similar. However, Harmshof is by far the best.
Dating back to the 1530s, it is something akin to visiting history from the present. There has been only one family that owns it, with the exception of name changing through out the of years. The old timber house is where the Hofcafé resides and your introduction to the most delicious of cakes. Since everything is made in house, the variety of cakes are seasonal. In the Fall there are plum cakes and the butter cake tends to stay through out the year. The farmstead opens from early spring until just the beginning of winter. They host classical international concerts in the summer and a large art and craft fair in the fall. For up to date events, it is best to check their website.
In the old sheep barn there are selection of regional apples to choose from and buy by the kilo, as well as honey and little specialty goods. There are plenty of outdoor picnic tables and a silver of waterway the runs through the property. Hens and ducks roam freely.
Simplicity often has an unfair connotation. Derivative or pedestrian come to mind. Yet in the case of Harmshof, it could not be further from the truth. It is a local favorite and one that tourists come back for year after year. Its so popular that it is best to get there in the morning or early afternoon otherwise you are left with just black coffee and tea. It’s that good.