About one month ago I posted an article about how demand increases for locally produced organic food and grocery in general in Hungary – not only on the countryside, but also among folks living in towns and cities. Today I would like to introduce probably the biggest organic grocery producer in Hungary, Virágoskút and its owner Péter Rózsa. This successful venture should be a ‘role model’ for everyone interested in farming of any type – be it on your balcony, in your tiny garden or on a bigger property.
Péter Rózsa always knew he wanted to be his own boss having his own farm, where he could grow and produce enough food at least for his family. He started out very small: he bought one sheep, a couple of cows and pigs, some donkeys and luckily he was able to finance this investment by himself. What he needed some financial support with, was to buy land, for growing fruits and vegetable, as well as where his animals could hang out freely.
For about 12 years now he has been committed to the production of organic food and his products are famously delicious – made of real ingredients without all the chemicals and nasty ingredients. Today he owns about 25 hectares of land and produces much more than he and his family needs, and he is also the biggest employer of the region. Meanwhile all his bank credits have been paid back entirely.
The 25 hectares of land that the Rózsa family owns is divided into the following areas: on six hectares we can find fruits, vegetable, kitchen herbs and spices, five hectares of land houses a forest, whereas grass grows on 3 hectares and on the rest of the farming land there is space for growing corn, spelt, oat, pumpkin, beans and sweet potato. On the other side of his Virágoskút property – close to the water – Péter Rózsa keeps ancient Hungarian animal species, such as gray cattle, mangalitsa, donkeys, poultry, turkey as well as Komondor, Puli, and other herding dogs. Animals and plants live and grow here freely and customers are rewarded with grocery of superior taste.
Virágoskút, the name of his business is also how the township is called where it is based at, is about 30km to the west from Debrecen (east Hungary), in the eastern part of Hortobágy National Park. Péter Rózsa says himself, in terms of the location, it is what we call ‘in the middle of nowhere‘, which clearly has its advantages like the peaceful living, time and space for trying out different farming methods, observing the course of nature and providing his animals with enough space. Instead of chemicals, Péter Rózsa lets nature work out its own battles and if needed, he makes use of ‘useful‘ bugs, like ladybirds, wasps etc. to fight against the ‘bad‘ ones. His bees are healthy as they are let alone to do their own thing – not like in other areas of the world (see the movie ‘More than honey‘). Bees thank him with producing a lot of honey, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the weather and other factors – and it is totally OK not to exceed last year’s yield.
Organic products by Virágoskút are available for purchase in their own farm shop, on local food & farmers’ markets and at some select – mostly family run – retailers in Hungary. Distribution through big food retailers is definitely not the target – as purchasing the Virágoskút fruits, vegetable and meat should be an experience for customers and if interested they should be able to hear the entire story about the production process – even down to the name of the cow that gave the milk. As with every successful business, at Virágoskút successor planning has also been taken care of, as Péter Rózsa’s sons will be taking over the farm and they have been involved with the family business from the very beginning.
As some of you know by now, I am a huge supporter of this kind of farming, as food should be respected and it should be respectfully produced. It is great to see these types of businesses prospering and flourishing, and that more & more people realize the importance of knowing exactly, what we actually eat or drink or put on our skin and that we can get into direct contact with our grocery producer – as trust in the globalized agricultural methods and food factories as well as in the big distribution chains has been tremendously shaken.
For more information please visit the Virágoskút website (available only in Hungarian) or the Facebook page. I have also come across a long interview with Péter Rózsa and it is truly inspiring. It is available in Hungarian, but I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Source of images: courtesy of Virágoskút.