On 17 June, the farmer's wife Cathrin Iten from Hof Rietli can be seen in the "SRF bi de Lüt – Landfrauenküche" programme. She thereby gives an insight into the daily work on the farm that she and her husband Franz offer to people with a disability,
The farmer's wife Cathrin Iten from Hof Rietli in Unterägeri is taking part in the latest season of the "SRF bi de Lüt – Landfrauenküche" programme on Swiss TV. The concept of the show is as follows: each of the women invites her six competitors to a dinner, and tries to convince them with what the stable and the ground of her home make available. In the end, a winner will be chosen.
The program showing Cathrin Iten’s attempt will be broadcast on Friday, 17 June, whereby the other women will enjoy the Rietli traditions, as well as the hospitality of the Ägeri valley.
The 38-year-old mother of three says: "I wasn't very excited during filming, nor am I excited about the broadcast. I see my participation in the show as a great adventure, and as a family project that I really enjoyed."
She came to the rustical TV format by chance. Her husband Franz, who runs the dairy farm with 15 cows together with her, encouraged her to participate and supported her in this. The Rietli farm has been family-owned for generations.
She herself came to the farm through her marriage to Franz, who is nine years her senior, and she thereby completed the course at the farmer’s wife school (Bäuerinnenschule). "Before that, I had had nothing to do with agriculture. I grew up on the seventh floor in a block apartment in Steinhausen," she adds with a laugh.
She doesn’t want to reveal exactly what she served her fellow competitors for dinner during their visit to Unterägeri: "What I can say is that a soup is served in advance. That’s a tradition for us, and is very practical for using up leftovers, and thereby helps us not to waste food."
Workplace or home for people with disabilities
The Iten family welcomes all people who feel happy in the countryside, in nature and near animals to their farm, which has twelve hectares of agricultural land: they have been working together with WABB-Zug (Living and working with disabled people on the farm) since 2019. Cathrin Iten explains:
"We offer a sheltered workplace and/or a home to people with physical, mental, psychological and social disabilities."
Possible care structures include weekly and day stays, as well as joint lunches.
"We provide an adapted daily structure for these people. This takes their personal skills and interests into account, as well as the seasonal work on the farm," continues the trained surveying draughtswoman.
Farmer Cathrin Iten in front of her house on the Farm Rietli in Unterägeri. Photo: SRF/Ueli Christoffel
The main tasks in the agricultural sector are caring for animals, growing plants, and harvesting vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as managing meadows and forests. There is also a lot of work to be done in the domestic environment: "The tasks include preparing meals, processing and canning fruits and vegetables, doing laundry and cleaning premises," says Cathrin Iten.
Attention to sustainability in the decoration
The filming on the farm, which is a 20-minute walk from the centre of Unterägeri, took a week and was a lot of fun. Cathrin Iten:
"The SRF team was very nice, patient and uncomplicated. That was also very important to us when shooting with disabled people. Because they are part of our everyday lives."
She hopes that this down-to-earth, warm courtyard atmosphere will also come across as natural and authentic on television.
When decorating the dinner for the other women competitors, she focused on sustainable reuse: "I didn't want to buy anything new, but to use what we had there. So I used pottery hearts made by my seven-year-old daughter Alice for the table decoration, as well as self-wrapped hay hearts."
For the main course, she was allowed to borrow the crockery and the silver cutlery of her mother-in-law, which she had received as a gift for her wedding. "I used the large dessert plates from my parents, and the white, embroidered napkins from my 95-year-old grandmother," Iten says. They are embroidered with the emblem of the grandmother, who had made them as a dowry at the time of her marriage.
Reunion during the shooting of the final broadcast
Cathrin Iten herself will also finally see the fully edited programme when it airs on 17 June. The final broadcast is still being filmed, and she doesn't yet know exactly what to expect: "All our husbands will be there and will get to know each other. I'm looking forward to seeing the other women again."
There are many common themes, as everyone is about the same age, has children and deals with agriculture. "I can well imagine that good friendships will develop there. Especially when we don't live too far apart," adds Iten. In this season, candidates from Schwyz, Lucerne and the Freiamt (Aargau) are taking part.
Despite the many new experiences on this adventure, Cathrin Iten has remained grounded: "It's all incredibly exciting. But I’ll also be happy when everyday life returns to us, and I can devote myself fully to my family, farm work and care again."