Took a trip to the reletively new Bohemiae Rosa farm out in Votice/Otradovice yesterday. I had met the owner once or twice before through a friend who is staying with him at the moment and yesterday was our chance to actually meet him out on the farm and get a tour of the place as it is now (in winter of 2011) and also look forward to the next several years of planned production and improvments. There is a lot going on out there.
I’d already ordered a goose from Mr. Booij for Christmas. Needless to say it was fantastic, and knowing that it had never been given any hormones, wasn’t on any drugs or being regularly vaccinated and ate what it wanted out in the field during the course of its life made it even better.
The farm has a lot of space for the animals to run around and he’s looking to buy even more. There are several ponds for a variety of fish and if you like you can go out and catch your own. Currently, he only slaughters small poultry and all of the larger livestock goes out to a slaughterhouse nearby but in approximatly the next year he should have his own, which will improve things on several levels because the Czech Republic, like many other countries, does not favor the small farmer and it’s current regulations discourage and discriminate against the small farmer.
For example, apparently Czech law says you can only kill a maximum of 10 chickens a week if they are for sale to the public; or, that all livestock should be packaged at the site of slaughter at the slaughterhouse. But some slaughterhouses don’t package, so what’s a farmer to do? So obviously some of this is rather rediculous to anyone trying to make a living as a farmer or trying to improve the food supply by offering up a healthy alternative to the “factory farm” and the mass production of foodstuffs we all know to be unhealthy (but cheap!)
The farm also has a couple of stores where you can buy fruit and veg, wine, honey and other items they produce there. You can also buy on-line all year round.
They also have accomodations, and even accomodation for students who would like to volunteer and/or work there. For example, there is one apartment with bath and kitchen which is big enough to house 10 students comfortably. The idea is that the students who wish to studey or volunteer there work 5 hours a day, get free accomodation and food which is raised/grown on the farm and they cook for themselves while they learn the routines, troubles and techniques of what it takes to produce all of that food.
It was cold and dark and snowy yesterday so I didn’t take any pictures. My wife took some on her iPhone, two of which I’ll post at the bottom. Also, most of the animals were inside due to the cold and there was a lot of construction going on to expand the size of the pens for the pigs and sheep and cattle so photographing something that was temporary seemed silly.
And big daddy here is the stud who sires all of the swine: I’m not certain what kind of pig he is exactly but he is a hybrid, if I heard correctly. He has some of the coloring and hair length of a Czech Improved White, but the black coloring and ears are something other. Dunno.
Here’s the farm location: