On the 28th of June, Mr. Raphael Stucki and Mr. Jean Michel Florin started their visit in Cluj County with meeting the participants of the training, and then together they visited the lavender garden of Simona Persecan. The trainers were impressed by the work done by Simona Persecan and her family, as well as by the blossoming lavender fields. At the same time the trainers advised the producer different methods, such as “weeding” the fields with the help of sheep.
Then the trainers gained an insight into the rich world of wild medicinal plants of Cluj County. On the trips made around Cluj Napoca the trainers were amazed by the wonderful view and the fact that there grow medicinal plants which cannot be found in Switzerland.
The next venue of the trip was the test fields of Simona Persecan where she cultivates dwarf everlast. In the region this is the first initiative, though the seedlings are just 5-10 cm high, they will most probably burst into flowers within a short time.
In the afternoon the team visited the vegetable fields of Jucan Maria from Apahida. Jucan Maria and her family are members of the Kis Szamos Rét Agricultural Cooperation from Apahida and are interested in cultivation of herbs and medicinal plants. The trainers appreciated that Mrs. Jucan prefers the ecological crop production and uses on the fields macerates and traditional preparations. Thank to the family of Mrs. Simona the guests could have tried the local products. Not only the trainers, but also the participants tasted with pleasure the tasty bites from traditional products.
At the end of the day Mr. Raphael Stucki talked about the importance of balance between nature, plants and human. The substance of his lesson originates from the ideology of the biodynamical agriculture and the anthroposophy, which is widely spread in Switzerland and Western Europe. The biodynamical agriculture, established by Rudolf Steiner in 1924, is based on the relation between nature and human and its introduction became necessary at the end of the 19th century, caused by qualitative decline appeared in traditional agriculture.
The 29th of June we started with a hiking trip on the hills of Răchiţele (Cluj County), where the Swiss trainers were amazed by the richness of the nature. Our team members knew well the region, but this time, in the spirit of the training, they used a new point of view and looked at the surrounding nature as a living organism. At the end of the day, thank to the lessons and practical activities held by Mr. Jean Michel Florin, the participants could experience how important role the plants (flora) play in the formation of the relief.
On the last day, 30th June, the participants had the opportunity to survey the distillation process at Transylvanian Lavender. As a practical activity on the farm the women participants prepared the lavender to be used for distillation, while the men inserted the distillation machine. Another activity was that the participants studied and made a drawing of a medicinal plant. Later on they talked about the main quality values of the chosen herb. Then the participants could listen to a lecture held by Mr. Jean Michel Florin about biodynamical cultivation and the formation of such a farm. Mr. Raphael Stucki talked about wildcrafting, as well as about working methods applied at Ceres Heilmittel Ltd. As a closing event of the day the trainers and the participants surveyed the process of lavender distillation. The scent and the beauty of the shiny lavender oil amazed everyone.