Nestling among the vegetable fields and visible from afar lies Thaur, a village that benefits both from its favourable, south-facing location and from the shelter afforded by the mighty Nordkette to the rear. It's a place which thrives on the traditional ways and yet, whatever the season, it is synonymous with leisure and hospitality.
For centuries its inhabitants have taken full advantage of the pleasant climate. The land here has been intensively farmed and so there is every reason why it is sometimes described as "Austria's largest vegetable patch". Some 60% of all the radishes grown in Austria and many other types of vegetable are cultivated in the "North Tyrolean Vegetable Region". The radish harvest is celebrated every year on Hall's Oberer Stadtplatz with musical accompaniment, local delicacies and, of course, radishes. Many millions of crisp tubers are bundled together here every year. The farmers' market stalls and the Thaur farmers' store also supply food and drink, notably the Austrian Dietary Chefs who prepare original dishes from radishes. Music, traditional schuhplattler dancing, a raffle and a children's programme form the supporting programme. The focus, of course, is on fresh radishes of which there are plentiful quantities.
They are crisp, hot and bright red and, as the first domestic crop, herald the arrival of spring. Along with lettuce, radishes are, in terms of land cultivated, Tyrol's most important crop (approx. 160-200 hectares annually). The yield when harvested is about 100 of the little red beauties on every square metre and that unbelievably translates into about 200 million radishes or 20 million bunches. All radishes are pulled from the ground by hand, inspected and then bundled. They are the little brothers of the white radish and belong to the cruciferous family – and so are therefore related to the cauliflower and cabbage. The scientific name Raphanus sativus is derived from the Latin word radix = root, with sativus meaning sown, planted or cultivated.