Biró Vencel – farmer

by admin on 05/06/2015

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We went to visit Vencel Biró, who is raising snails and cultivating vegetables, besides being the father of my guide Robert Biró.

The snail farm was located on the top of a small hill in a wide, open landscape with seemingly fertile fields.

Robert’s father worked as a policeman, but got an early retirement. He bought the land for the snail farm after getting retired, but since the limits of his land are not officially verified due to that the state owned everything during communism, he can’t be certain to keep all of his property.

Since he had been growing small plots of land for many years and nobody else was raising snails with shells, he decided to start a snail farm where he could grow food for the snails at the same time. All the snails raised at this farm have been collected by local people and brought to his farm for pay.

The farm consists of 4 rectangular fields surrounded by netting fences and the ground of each field is covered by coarse netting in order to prevent the snail from burrowing into the ground. The fields with snails were covered by dense vegetation such that the snails could climb and stay on plants, but lots of snails were residing on the netting walls instead.

The snails are harvested in autumn just before they start hibernating. It’s time-consuming due to that they may be difficult to find, they have to be alive and the shells have to be cleaned. The snails are mostly exported to Italy, while a small amount is sold in Romania. After harvesting, the vegetation inside the fences have to be removed and seeds are sown in order to prepare the field for a new set of snails.

Having had a look at the snails, Robert’s father showed us his vegetable fields where he was growing zucchini in order to feed the snails. He had set up a fence around the whole property and he had started growing vines which were growing around the fences. He had also dug a drainage canal around the whole property. In addition, he tried to make new fences by growing walnut trees in rows.

I was offered to have a taste of his snails, but never having been fond of eating them, I turned the offer down.

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