PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN
On Tuesday 6th June 2017 we launched a new programme for school children and welcomed to Saschiz 24 children and nine adults from Sighisoara. They arrived at Pivnita Bunicii at 0830 and were introduced to the principles of Slow Food. They ate some pancakes with reduced sugar jams and tasted some elderflower cordial. Then a walk to the fortified church for games before heading to Fundatia Adept Transilvania pottery to make to name plates. Finally to Pensiunea Cartref Saschiz and their cooking museum and lunch. At 1230 some happy children headed back to Sighisoara. It is hoped that this programme will become a regular event available to all schools.
Sustainability is important and the service providers are all paid from the fee collected from the children by the school.
“Romania is truly the heart of food and taste education in the region and in Europe. Slow Food Iasi's Masters of Food, Slow Food Turda's Edu-Kitchens, and now the new programme for kids by Slow Food Tarnava Mare! Keep it this way!!!” Michele Rumiz, Programme Coordinator for Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, 13 June 2017
Slow Food Turda has received a grant for the implementation of their educational program EduKitchen, in schools and in public areas during nine months in Turda, Cluj Napoca, Aiud, Saschiz (hopefully also in Schools from Sighisoara) and Iasi, working together with many NGOs beside our main partners Slow Food Cluj Transilvania ,Slow Food Iasi and Slow Food Tarnava Mare.
At our AGM in January 2015, SFTM proposed promoting traditional tomato varieties. They are rapidly disappearing in Romania, being replaced with tasteless modern varieties. Young people were no longer interested in saving seed from one year to the next, instead finding it easier to buy packets of seed from the supermarkets or indeed potted seedlings from garden centres.
Tincuta Cismas of Farma Ecologica, Topa agreed to produce surplus seedlings and to make these available for SFTM members to distribute and grow. Anyone can grow them even if all they have is a concrete yard or balcony, with the seedlings planted in pots.
These tomatoes tend to be of irregular heart shape, light red in colour, high dry matter and bursting with flavour and ideal for processing / preserving for winter. They vary in size tremendously but if grown carefully can reach over 1.5kg each but commonly 0.5kg.
In 2015, several members participated in this project and the results were indeed tasty. However, the uptake of seedlings was disappointing as many people had not yet realised that their tasty traditional varieties are no longer widely available.
We repeated this again in 2016 and the uptake of seedlings was much better. Guidelines were prepared and distributed to encourage households to save their own seed.
Over 100kg of the heirloom tomatoes were sold by the community to Pivnita Bunicii, a local processor and used as an ingredient for example in an old Saxon recipe for tomato chutney. By creating this demand and providing a route to market for households and farmers, growing these tomatoes should have a sustainable future.
At the AGM in 2017, it was agreed to continue and expand this project by encouraging more households to participate. In March 2017, the heirloom “Inima de bou” tomato was listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste
Over 300kg of heirloom tomatoes were purchased by Pivnita Bunicii in 2017 and these were used to make Tomato Chutney using a local Saxon recipe.
This product will be promoted using the Ark of Taste .From every jar sold under this label, Pivnita Bunicii will donate 5% to Slow Food Tarnava Mare to help promote this heirloom tomato initiative, and a further 5% to Slow Food’s Menu for Change international campaign.
SAXON VILLAGE PRESERVES
2005 Slow Food vice president, Piero Sardo visits the villages during summer to register the first convivium, launch the preserves project and define future steps, looking forward to the 2006 Salone del Gusto. The preserves display high taste quality, but have the limits of an entirely home-made production. Despite the excellent quality of the ingredients, the producers are unconvinced that this family tradition could have commercial potential. The cultivated fruit (apples, quinces and rhubarb) comes from age-old gardens, while the wild fruit (rosehips, mirabelle plums, sour cherries, wild strawberries and blueberries) are picked by hand in the nearby woods and meadows.
2006 The first course on food safety, certified by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (a British charity offering courses and consultancy on health, safety and hygiene) is held in February for ten local women interested to become involved on tourism and are asked if they would like to make jam for selling to tourists. A panel of judges made up of three from Slow Food HQ and three ladies (two British and one Romanian) considered every type of jam produced in the area and selected as the most interesting the preserves made from rhubarb, wild fruit (rose hip, mirabelle plums, strawberries and blue berries) and apple and cinnamon.
Following their newly acquired knowledge, the women start making the selected jams for the upcoming Salone del Gusto. Their participation in the event in Turin is a huge success, they sell their entire stock and the public’s interest inspires the women, who for the first time grasp the social, economic and cultural value of their work.
2007 A year of international promotion: The producers take part in various events in Italy, France and Poland. In November, the Presidium are founders of the first farmers market in Bucharest, inspired by the principles of Slow Food Earth Markets. During the two-day market, over 10,000 people visit the stalls, manned by small-scale food producers from around the country. Here the producers are able to interact with a wider Romanian population, and sell their products directly to customers.
2008 The production of jams gradually increases, thanks in part to the sustainable rural tourism promotion initiatives run by the ADEPT Foundation across the Siebenburgen area. The arrival of interested tourists increases the awareness of the local communities about the importance of preserving their traditions and the local environment. In December, a group of producers takes part in the Christmas Market organized by Slow Food London, which offers a unique opportunity to promote the Presidium.
2009 In the presence of HRH Prince Charles, a jam production workshop is inaugurated in the village of Saschiz. The facility is certified for food production by the Romanian Authorities, an important step for commercialisation of the jams. Starting in June, the Presidium becomes a permanent fixture at the new Bucharest Earth Market, and in October the first draft production protocol for the jams is presented.
2010 Federico Santamaria from the Dried Calizzano and Murialdo Chestnuts Presidium in Liguria holds two days of training on the use of the equipment in the production workshop, helping the producers work on limiting the sugar added (the only ingredient in the preserves apart from fruit) without compromising the products stability. This is an important step towards increasing the production quality. The producers become Slow Food members, demonstrating their growing involvement in the promotion of their land and their products and in spreading the Slow Food philosophy in the region.
The legacy of Saxon Village Preserves and the brief foray of the Earth Market has been to make many households throughout Romania aware of the commercial potential of jam. We rapidly saw in street markets and at other events, a proliferation of hexagonal jars, with gold lids and white labels.
Saxon Village Preserves is also listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste