The days when people woke up at 5 a.m. to feed their cattle and milk their cow seem to have almost completely disappeared. And yet, revisiting this era is still possible thanks to agritourism, now an emerging sector in the Košice region.
The Zlatý Hýľ biofarm sits at the end of the village Nováčany about 15 kilometres from Košice. Its owners, a married couple, have been pursuing their interest in farming for the past 10 years. Rene Pavlík is describing himself as a “guy from the block”, but he and his wife have dedicated themselves to converting an old farm into a complex agritourism centre. The goal is to offer tourists the chance to escape from modern consumerist society.
“In reality, people have not really seen a cow close-up, nor touched it with their bare hands”, Pavlík said.
The farm offers an assortment of agritourism activities, which for city dwellers still means a detour from their everyday life.
“People can get their hands on anything that’s usually done at a farm,” Pavlik said. “They can try what it feels like to be a shepherd, run after a flock of sheep or look after grazing cows.”
According to Pavlík, one of our society’s problems is that “people have no clue what they are eating.” This is why the he prides himself on producing high quality bio food products and serves them at the accompanying restaurant. The farm also produces its own bryndza, a Slovak sheep cheese specialty.
Being out of town does not automatically mean being bored, nor does it mean that every waking hour is spent doing hard labour. Zlatý Hýľ farm also offers activities like bowling.
Other agritourism options are also on offer in the region.
“Tourists are more demanding,” veterinarian Barnabáš Szakall said, by way of explaining why he invested in a wellness centre for his Penzión Konský Dvor (Horse’s Yard Pension) in the village Brzotín 5 km south of Rožňava. Tourists can ride 17 horses or visit the mini zoo with goats, donkeys, rabbits, poultry and several dogs, which add a charming touch to the whole scene.
“They love us, because we saved their lives,” said Szakall after counting all 16 dogs.
Horse-riding and horse care are one of the most common agrotourism activities in the Košice region and tourists can choose also from a variety of other ranches to visit such as Ranč Šugov, Ranč u Trapera or Ranč Nová Zem. As Szakall is says, “The best narcotic in the world is scent of horses.”
19. Jun 2014 at 0:00 | Lenka Hudáková (Ján Pallo contributed to this report)