Women use ancient methods for preserves


Some of Europe’s most important high nature farmed landscapes are found in Romania, especially Transylvania. The aim of Fundatia ADEPT is to give landscapes and communities an economic future and relevance in the 21st century without sacrificing their sustainability and productivity. They link economic and social benefits with biodiversity conservation.

In the Târnava Mare area, part of the Natura 2000 Network, typically, the farmers’ wives turned the fruit harvested from their gardens and orchards or gathered from the surrounding woods into jams, compotes, and syrups. These preserves have much less added sugar than do mass-produced jams, taking advantage of natural sweetness. The most interesting preserves are those made with rhubarb, wild fruit (rosehip, mirabelle plums, strawberries, and blueberries), or apples and cinnamon. The use of cinnamon is tied to ancient local traditions, as this region was once a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Until recent years, rhubarb was an unknown plant to most Romanians, but in the Târnava Mare area it was widely used because it was brought here by the Saxons, who have lived in the area since the 12th century. Women prepare a wide variety of preserves for their families, changing the recipes according to the season. They use the fruit they grow and harvest in their home gardens and orchards, cooked slowly over the fire, although not for too long, in order to preserve the taste and smell of the fresh fruit.

In the Saxon Villages, up until 2005, local preserves had been exclusively produced for domestic consumption and no attempt had been made to organise production for the market. Fundatia ADEPT established and authorised a processing unit allowing local producers to process, package, and sell their preserves in line with food hygiene legislation. Farmers use various marketing channels – farm gate sales, local markets, and increasingly retail shops in the region and in major cities. ADEPT organises training sessions for interested producers, helping them to market more effectively. Products are promoted during regional and national events and to the wider public.

The project shows local producers that they can get extra income by adding value to local products and that their ancient knowledge in processing fruit and vegetables is greatly appreciated not just locally, but even more so at national and international levels.

For further information:
Fundatia ADEPT Information Centre
Str. Principala nr. 166, Saschiz, Mures 547510, Romania
Tel.: 40 (0)265 711635
E-mail: office@fundatia-adept.org
Website: https://fundatia-adept.org

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Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world. People living in and around Natura 2000 areas utilise these for a variety of economic activities. Designation of Natura 2000 areas often creates additional restrictions though, sometimes leading people to perceive Natura 2000 as a burden. One solution to this problem is to make products coming from Natura 2000 areas better known and more appealing to the public and increase awareness of the benefits these products provide for nature and for people working in Natura 2000 areas.

This website is part of a Natura 2000 branding campaign, stressing the benefits Natura 2000 can provide to local economies. It showcases products produced in Natura 2000 areas accompanied by inspiring background stories about the collaborations and socio-economic benefits related to those products. By sharing these successful and positive stories the campaign aims to trigger new partnerships between site managers, farmers and local businesses, and improve perceptions of and increase support for the Natura 2000 network.

Natura 2000 branding benefits people, nature and local economy