The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 89: VIII. Annual Gömör Fruit Festival 2016
Organised by the Gömöri Környezet- és Tájfejlesztő Egyesület, it was touch and go if it would happen this year. The organisers thankfully were able to locate the necessary funds at the last minute and put on a great event, including a concert by the famous Kaláka who specialise in putting Hungarian poetry to music as well as children's songs. We met lots of old friends at their stands, such as the Bari's (in Büdöskútpuszta) and their organic mangalica pork products, newly ANP official product certified honeys by János Ambrus (in Sájólád), and the similarly certified Koltays with their jams, cordials and mushroom products. We also finally met Ilona Ácsné and her husband in person who are ANP certified not only for their Fruktárium fruit brandies and guest house in Trizs, but also won certification this year for their jams. The Miskolc Mushroom Association had their always fascinating tent full of edible, non-edible, protected and poisonous mushrooms on display. This year they had as many as120 species on display. We also met some new people, such as the mayor of Zubogy who has begun to produce chilli products, and organic folks from the Szeles Ökokért (email@example.com) who have started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system. They had some amazing looking corn on the cob which people were taking away 5-6 at a time, but we had already eaten. Besides raw fruit and vegetables, they also sell tomato juice and pickles. A huge range of local fruit varieties were on display, and there was a children's environmental activity tent run by Aggtelek National Park. Amazingly, we also ran into Orsi Máté who I worked with 20 years ago on a sustainable consumption project for the Alliance for Northern People Environment and Development (ANPED). This included the first introduction to both NGOs and the Hungarian public concerning the dangers posed by GMO food. The Csender folk band played on stage, but also played their hearts out all day at various locations around the venue. Of course, the day could not be complete without waiting 20 minutes for the famed steamed plum jam dumplings from the Zubogy tent, yum! The organisers even gave Kata some space at the last moment to sell her silk paintings.
The following day we visited our friends in Irota at their similarly ANP-certified and recently opened Ecolodge. They had their grill all fired up to thank all the people that helped them through their first high season and we were also invited. We finally took a dip in their swimming pool. The water was very nice, but a bracing 21°C in the shade. The pool is fed by a stream, and the water cleaned by a plant-based filtration system. Of course, no chemicals are used. We drank a toast with fruit brandy in the pool, so at least our insides were warm.