I was keen to see how the food I've fed Jack years ago, and now feed Isla is produced, and find about more about the people behind the brand.
As much as I knew this would be a fantastic trip, and definitely one I wished to go on, I was very apprehensive about leaving the children behind, especially Isla, however she was fine. So when I found out someone I knew would be going, it eased some of the doubts I had, the lovely Tami from Mummy of 2+1 also made the journey.
The beginning of July saw the journey to Poland finally arrive, the three day informative trip was here. On the Tuesday morning it was time to go, heading to Gdansk airport and then onto a guided tour around Gdansk which is beautiful. Following this, we had another journey onto the HiPP farm in Podagi taking around an hour and a half. The farmhouse in which we stayed for the two nights was beautiful with amazing views. That evening we had our first meeting with Mr Stefan Hipp, who was so lovely.
The next morning we had an early start ready to have our fun packed day learning all about sustainability, organic farming and of course the HiPP brand along with viewing the farmlands.
Following breakfast we had a talk with Mr HiPP who gave us some background information on organic farming and sustainability. I learnt so much from this short presentation and feel I've gained more knowledge into organic produce and the extent to farming behind it. However, not only do HiPP do organic farming, they go above and beyond the normal organic farming regulations, setting their own standards ensuring everything they product is extremely high standards.
After our talk with Mr Hipp we headed onto the buggies and went a wonder around the farmland, which was a bit of an experience. The farm in which HiPP have in Podagi has been organically farmed since 2003 and is currently around 2000 Ha in size. HiPP have a 5 year crop rotation, meaning no same crop is planted within the five years. Rotating between clover, wheat, rye, spelt and oats not in that order, clover is used as its good for natural nitrogen helping the plants. Wheat follows the clover as it needs the most nitrogen, which naturally the clover leaves behind.
As we were going around, all of the fields were protected by numerous amounts of trees. Apparently this is good with organic farming as it acts as a natural windbreaker and for nature to live in to help the crops. As for nature, they let them do the work, enlisting the birds, insects and other wildlife to reduce the pests whilst producing other products too. The crops aren't cut at peak wildlife times to enable them to still get their food. It is thought on the Podagi farmland there are over 160 different species of birds along with deer, elks, foxes and wild boar among others.
Along with the crops HiPP also grow their own vegetables and have their own carrots and potatoes. The carrots are a lot sweeter than usual ones and unique to HiPP. The vegetables have the same care as the crops, the carrots need weeding and this is done by hand for the first six weeks otherwise the carrots will not grow. Of course, like any farm there are bugs around, potatoes need protecting from beetles and fungi disease, so using tree oil as a natural pesticide this helps protect them. As for the carrots, there is a problem with carrot flies eating the leaves, so every third row of carrots they plant onions as the flies dislike the scent.
The Podagi farmland is also home to a lot of farm animals, there are around 1000 Angus cattle and 600 black head sheep both of which we managed to get up close and personal with.
Before this trip I had no idea about organic farming, to me it was simply that they didn't use pesticides. I had no idea of the hard work and dedication in which was behind the scenes with the farmers. The processes to check the soil I had no idea on, in Mr Hipp's words healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy animals = healthy people. HiPP have so much passion behind being organic, along with their own farms they work with an additional 8000 other organic farmers who each have to follow the strict guidelines in which HiPP have set out ensuring we have the best products in our baby foods.
One thing in which really sticks with me with the HiPP brand is that it is a family business, starting out as a small family business back in 1899 and still to this day remaining a family business. Originally, they weren't an organic brand when starting out, there first product was made when Joseph Hipp's wife was struggling to breastfeed so was a gap between milk and food. The following 5 children were also fed the cereal and word soon got around. In 1932 it was starting to be sold door-to-door by Joseph's son Georg who opened his own company. In 1956 Georg converted his family farm to organic farming after a chance meeting with Dr Hans Muller, and the range has been organically farmed ever since.
Since this Georg's sons Claus, Georg and Paulus followed into the business with Claus taking over in 1967. In Europe you will see the family face of Claus on packaging and everyone knows about the family name and brand. With the pressures of factory farming in the 1960's Hipp still remained committed to organic farming. Claus is still around within the business and his son Stefan is now co-owner of the family business. HiPP is now in its 4th generation and are as passionate as ever to the organic farming and sustainability. I love the idea that over 100 years later the company still remain as a predominately family run business sticking to the same ethics as originally set out.
Although I had a small insight into the HiPP brand from being part of the #WeanTeam it was great to learn all about the highest care that goes into the food in which we feed our children. The HiPP Organic range has over 150 products included making them the biggest organic baby range within the UK. The range includes 63 jars, 33 pouches, 20 trays, 9 fruit pots, 5 cereals and 6 drinks - along with the many other products they are introducing.
Please Note: I was provided with an all expenses paid trip to Podagi, Poland. However all views and opinions are my own and not influenced by this