In the strawberry season, in addition to various saplings and fragrant strawberries at the Baron homestead, you can also buy strawberry jams, cordials and excellent strawberry juice.
When the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, seasonal fruit, which we missed so much during winter, really hits the spot. Here in Radol'ca, strawberries are certainly at the top of the list, hence we simply had to include a stop during the recent journalists' culinary-cycling trip around Radol'ca at the Baron homestead in the hamlet of Dvorska vas.
Things really come to life in Dvorska vas at this time of year at the garden centre and the Šlibar farm. In addition to saplings, which find their way to gardens throughout the Gorenjska region and likely even further afield, it is mainly strawberries that draw people to visit the Šlibar family. To be precise: Baron's strawberries.
“The ground on which we have our allotment today used to belong to a baron – the owner of Drnča Manor. The baron has sadly been forgotten, but to this day we know that our grandfather used to be a good friend of his,” says Andrej Šlibar, recalling a part of the family and village history.
In addition to a garden centre, today our homestead also has a meat processing plant, therefore visitors to the Radol'ca market, as well as those who visit the regular market on Fridays in Lesce, are already familiar with Baron's dried meats, sausages, black pudding and other products.
So, is Andrej Šlibar a gardener or a butcher? “A joiner,” says a smiling Andrej, adding that in the past he worked at the nearby Elan factory. Then a garden centre became part of our homestead. “Our deceased neighbour Matko had a garden centre and we helped him. Over time, around 20 years ago, we slowly began to go it alone. In 2006 we began with the butcher's trade, and at the same time began to grow strawberries and then everything else too. Now we also have a small plantation of asparagus, raspberries and aronia (chokeberries), as well as some homegrown vegetables.”
Today, in addition to strawberries and various saplings, strawberry jams, cordials and juice are made at the Baron homestead. In response to the question of what the secret is to making a good strawberry jam, with a broad smile on his face Andrej Šlibar says: “I don't tell anyone the secret. All I can say is that I sing while making jam!”
And, as Andrej rightly points out, flowers (and strawberries too!) are living beings: “So I put a radio show on for our strawberries every evening and I also complement them on how beautiful they are. Well, everyone likes to hear something nice, don't they?”
During our visit Andrej serves numerous customers who come by car to the homestead in Dvorska vas for strawberries: “Every year strawberries ripen at around the end of May then the season lasts until the end of June. It depends on the weather, sometimes the season can then extend until the beginning of July.”
This is the peak strawberry season, thereafter Baron's strawberries in Dvorska vas are available first in summer and then again in autumn.
In addition to the aforementioned jams, cordials and juices, what do the Slibar's most like to make from strawberries? Andrej Šlibar's answer is clear: “We most like to eat them just as they are – fresh, just picked and fragrant. They are the best. If we use them for anything else it's something simple that emphasises the strawberry flavour, such as a smoothie or fruit salad.”
Smoothies at the Slibar homestead are made exclusively using strawberries. You can find a simple recipe for refreshing strawberry fruit salad among the recipes of a food blogger from the Gorenjska region, who gathers local produce and an array of recipes in Špelina shramba (Špela's Pantry).
If we have whetted your appetite for Baron's strawberries, then during June you can get them freshly picked at the Slibar farm (Dvorska vas 24a), and/or from the man himself – Andrej Šlibar – at the monthly Radol'ca market (in the old town centre on the first Saturday of the month from 10am to 12noon), as well as at the Saturday market in Lesce (in the car park in front of the Kmetijska gozdarska zadruga (Agricultural and Forestry Cooperative) at Rozna dolina 50 every Saturday from 9am to 12noon)).
During the rest of the year, at the aforementioned markets, Andrej Šlibar sells mainly dried meat products as well as all the aforementioned strawberries products – jams, cordials and juices.
What do the Vegerila Organic Farm, the Semenjalnica organic seed storage and exchange project, and the Gostilna pri Jarmu inn have in common? In addition to the fact that all three of them are in the municipality of Radovljica, they all have one other common denominator – beans!
Every first Saturday in the month from 10am to 12noon a farmers, craft and antiques market will take place in Linhart Square and the square in front of St. Peter's church.
The range of cuisine in Radovljica and its surroundings has long been regarded as top-quality and genuinely local.