byJ. Puzic date16.02.2022 nourish

7099 Egga Farm Shop – A courageous spirit, close ties to nature and a big pinch of laid-back attitude

How Wagyu beef is delivered to the Valsana Hotel on skis.

Wagyu beef – delivered on skis? Stranger things have happened. At the Valsana Hotel in Arosa, it is the farm shop 7099 Egga – more precisely, the three Hitz sisters who run it – who are responsible for bringing this unlikely vision to life. It is a courageous spirit, close ties to nature and a big pinch of laid-back attitude that sets 7099 Egga apart. It prides itself on a real, no-frills approach to life – a philosophy that evolved from its unusual history and runs through everything the farm does today.

Several decades ago, a post office in the Churwalden municipality closed its doors for the last time. It postcode? 7099, seventy ninety-nine: Siebzg Nünänünzg, in the local Swiss German. Almost 50 years later, the same site is the region’s first port of call for home-raised organic meat and carefully selected, regional and sustainably produced agricultural products. 7099 Egga has been a certified organic farm for the past eight years. It’s a place where ‘while stocks last’ is not an empty sales tactic, but an attitude to life  – because instead of a deliberate surplus, there’s simply what nature provides. As meat is increasingly viewed as a political issue, the three Hitz sisters have adopted a pioneering approach to their work: they live among their animals, breed them sustainably and practise ‘nose to tail’ eating. In doing so, they are a source of inspiration for their many customers as well as for our guests at the Valsana Hotel.

And the blend of native Swiss breeds and Wagyu? A good one, as it turns out. “The breeds find us more than we find them,” says Nina Hitz. “It took years of work to breed the perfect mix of meatiness and fat. But that’s our whole philosophy: not playing it safe, but having the courage to do something different and pursue your values and vision.” Perhaps unusually, the sisters have decided on direct marketing over selling their produce at public markets. “We’re located on the way from Zurich to St. Moritz, so we always have people coming to us,” says Nina. “We rely on word of mouth; we’re confident that the quality speaks for itself.” And because the entire rearing and slaughtering process takes place on the farm, the three sisters can vouch for the quality first-hand. The feed for the animals is planted and harvested there; they take of the work in the barn; they oversee the slaughter on the farm. “We have a close connection to our animals, and we show great respect for them in our work,” Nina continues. “When the animals are sick or calving and show us that they trust us to care for them, those moments can be really moving. But more than anything else, they have a lot to teach us. They’re social beings. They have feelings and work as a team, just like we do. As a family business, we have to be able to rely on each other.”

It hasn’t always been easy, Nina recalls good-humouredly. “People often ask me where the boss is, and I tell them: she’s standing in front you.” The sisters’ grandmother – the first woman in the Grisons to don a pair of overalls – is a symbol of courage and a valuable reminder for the sisters to look to the future. Accordingly, they place a great emphasis on slowing down; on giving animals and nature the time and space they need. They also focus on ‘doing without’ – doing without packaging waste, for example. “Not everything is always available, and that’s a good thing!” Nina says. In addition to their farm work, the sisters, like the Tschuggen Hotel Group, are committed to the preservation of bogs and moorland as natural reservoirs of CO2. “Because the animals are fed with our own hay, CO2 emissions from our farm are as low as they can be,” she remarks.

And the delivery on skis? “It’s just what we do!” says Nina, who also happens to be a ski instructor. “It didn’t come from any great concept or plan. It’s not a marketing stunt – it’s just the fastest way to get to Arosa. I strapped on my backpack one morning and just set off. You can overthink things until the cows come home, but it’s the doing that matters in the end.”

The last sentence perfectly encapsulates what makes 7009 Egga so special: authenticity, realness and credibility. “We don’t budge or buckle,” the sisters say. “Sure, people talk about us – so what? We love our job and our farm, and we love inspiring others with what we produce.” And the Valsana Hotel gets a happy ending too: Wagyu beef delivered on skis, with a fascinating story and impressive women behind it.