The Good Life in Aggtelek National Park Part 94: Visit to 5 more National Park Certified Producers
The Ministry of Agriculture charges the national parks to visit all of their certified producers once a year. We are getting a late start, but hope to visit all 13 local producers by the end of the year. Our next group to visit included the Gömör Folk Craft College in Putnok, Kata Fodor in Gömörszőllös, the Fruktarium in Trizs, Attila Szintai in Szenndrő and Vilmos Vecsei in Martonyi. Although it had not snowed in near us, just a few miles away they got a good dusting, making the road to Putnok a winter wonderland. We met 2 of the engines of the college at the Gömör Regional Museum in the centre of town. We have passed by a couple times on our bike trips but never had time to stop. It is well worth the visit. Besides the lace exhibits, which the college is most concerned with, the main gallery is made to look like a street of small shops. Looking in the storefront windows, one can examine all the tools of various trades - farrier, baker, shoe repair...Among the displays there is even a disintegrating hunk of bread dating from WWI. Map drawers below each display hold other treasures. The college won certification for their regional bobbin lace and knot embroidery. In order to promote the old lace patterns and designs, they have spoken with several fashion designers who have now incorporated their lace. Famous people such as singer Márta Sebestyén are wearing these clothes now.
In Gömörszőllös we stopped by Kata Fodor's. Kata makes jewellery from hucul horsehair gathered from Aggtelek National Park's herd combined with non-precious stones and beads. Her kids were home with the flu, and her small son was suspended in the middle of the room with a leg in each of the two acrobatic rings. We drank big mugs of herbal tea as her son swung around in delight.
In Trizs we visited the Fruktarium, which has won certification for their guest house, pálinkas and now jams in 2016. We had coffee and palinka in the lovely separate breakfast/communal building that looks out from a slight elevation across the town to the hills. The hot drinks and large sloe palinka took the chill off as we discussed their future plans, which include opening a further 2 buildings in town as guest houses.
The certified pálinkas are made from plum, quince, dogberry, Szögliget grapes, wild apples, wild pears, elderflower and sloe. The jams include dogwood, quince, sloe, rosehip, Concord grape, quince jam with brandy, sloe jam with brandy and dogwood jam for "for connoisseurs"
Attila Szintai has had a difficult year. His strawberries got hit by frost, and there were virtually no sloe berries in the area so he had no ingredients for his jams. Attila and his brother run the local tyre repair and car wash in Szendrő. His kids have 400 chickens which lay enormous eggs available year round for just 30-35 forint each.
Vilmos Vecsei also had bad luck this year, since there were no saffron milk cap mushrooms to make his pickled mushrooms. Vilmos hopes to enter some of his homemade wine next year when the new tender is announced.