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From Field to Plate

17.10.2023 14:57

Taste Radol'ca restaurants are distinguised by the excellent food, which is based on fresh, seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Read our chat with a local producer. 

Excellent cuisine isn't only dependent on excellent chefs; quality ingredients are key. Taste Radol'ca emphasises the importance of local and traceable ingredients. One of the suppliers to Taste Radol'ca restaurants is the Vegerila Farm.

 

“Vegetables from my garden go to those who appreciate local and seasonal ingredients. That means Radovljica's chefs, as well as locals, who respect the method of farming closely connected to nature,” explains Tilen Praprotnik, manager of the Vegerila Ecological Farm. We paid a visit to the central part of his cultivated area in the surroundings of the village of Hraše.

 

The best Radol'ca chefs swear by fresh, seasonal and locally produced ingredients.

 

It would be hard to say that it's a real farm, since most often we associate them with farm buildings and machinery. In the garden, which covers a third of an acre, there are none of these. However, the whole area is full of wonderful vegetables – beetroot here, leeks there, alongside garden beds with lettuce, and tomatoes ripening in the greenhouse. Hens, meanwhile, take care of the accompanying sound track. The hens, together with a goose and a cockerel – graze daily in the immediate vicinity of the colourful garden. Not far away, 30 indigenous Jezersko-Solčava sheep breed graze. They are there to maintain balance on the meadow. These animals have a wonderful view of the mighty peaks of the Karavanke mountains, while the opposite side of the horizon is completed by the skyline of the Julian Alps and the Jelovica plateau. Tilen also has a larger flock of sheep in other locations.

 

Tilen Praprotnik, manager of the Vegerila Ecological Farm, is one of the suppliers to Taste Radol'ca.

 

Vegetables grow in this garden, which Tilen Praprotnik tends. What was initially amateur gardening eventually grew into farming. He swears by regenerative farming, explaining: “I see the farm as my own ecosystem, on which balance must be maintained.” The balance on the farm, where work is done without any modern provisions or mechanisation, helps Tilen to protect and care for all the aforementioned animals.

 

In the past few years, the Vegerila Farm has been working closely with Radovljica's chefs, which significantly facilitates Tilen Praprotnik's gardening season: “In winter we agree what the chefs need to create their dishes, then we meet their needs by tailoring what we produce on the farm. That way I can more easily and much more quickly plan what will grow in the following season in my garden. In addition, when the vegetable season is at its peak in the summer, I negotiate with the restaurateurs in Radovljica every week in terms of what else I can offer them that is fresh and seasonal at that moment.”

 

November in Radovljica is the Month of Local Cuisine, when participating Taste Radol'ca restaurants offer set price menus for 26 euros per person.

 

Approximately one-fifth of the vegetables grown at the Vegerila Farm go to Radovljica's restaurants, while the rest are bought by locals who appreciate this type of farming. If you are in Lesce from early spring to late autumn, you can also find some of the 60 types of vegetables from Tilen Praprotnik's garden in the Dobra misel organic store (Železniška ulica 5).

 

Tilen's vegetables are also on sale at the Dobra misel organic shop.

 

And to end: there is another interesting local story closely related to the Vegerila Farm, which puts beans in the foreground, because Tilen Praprotnik grows three different varieties of this legume every year in his fields (blog: Beans in Radovljica). However, these crops aren't grown to be cooked, rather the beans are turned into seeds, which then go to nurseries far and wide via the Semenjalnica seed storage facility (whose premises and a shop are in the Beekeeping Centre of Gorenjska, Rožna dolina 50a, Lesce). In addition to traditional Slovenian varieties of beans, the Semenjalnica also has peas for sowing in the home garden, which are grown by Slovenian farmers according to the principles of organic farming.

 

This guide was created as part of the ‘EKO Tastes of Slovenia’ project, run in cooperation with LAS, which is co-financed with the help of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Invests in Rural Areas. The Radovljica Public Institute of Tourism and Culture is responsible for the content. The governing body appointed to implement the Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Slovenia for the period 2014-2020 is the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Source of funding: European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

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