3 Things I learned from WWOOFing in Serbia.
A big reason we like WWOOFing so much is that it enables us to mingle with locals on a daily basis, experiencing regional cuisine, culture and customs, while giving back to the farmer and ultimately the community.
Last year, on our WWOOF farm in Italy, we got to experience firsthand the labor of love that is the annual grape harvest for wine production. The days were long, the lunches were divine, and the conversation and laughter flowed late into the evening.
So when Katarina and Miroslav of WWOOF Serbia contacted us about coming to check out some of their farms, we were excited to delve into a country that we didn’t know a lot about.
During our time we got to hang with Dragan and Olivera, a local raw food celebrity in Cortanovci, and Milos, a star in his own right who has started a village revolution in the hills above Soko Banja.
I learned a lot during the two weeks, but these are the three things that stand out the most, aside from our composting toilet at Milos’ farm.
1. Homegrown organic tomatoes from both farms were some of the juiciest and tastiest I’ve ever eaten. Yes, they were that good. In fact, it took a bit of the punch out of the Greek Salads in Thessaloniki, because the tomatoes just didn’t compare.
2. Making simple, sweet wine from red and white grapes that you can get from a local farm (or grocery store) is easier than home brewing beer. Seriously, all you have to do is destem and crush the grapes, and then let them ferment while pushing the grape skins down in the vat on a daily basis. While you still have to ensure you are holding vats and materials are clean, making wine doesn’t require the extreme cleanliness of brewing beer.
You can have tasty, low alcohol wine in about two months and very good strong wine in about a year. The key, just like home brewing, is to get the rotation going, and then you will always have one to drink and another batch processing.
3. Peppers or Paprika as they are called in Serbia are amazing and a national staple. Most of our meals consisted of some sort of roasted pepper. One of my favorite dishes is a plate full of roasted red peppers sprinkled with fresh garlic and pepper. So simple, yet so delicious!