Automatic Raw Milk Machine- Mlekomat opens at Slovenian Target

Vsak dan sveze mleko– Fresh milk every day

Kim Hartke on Taste of Slovenia Tour 2013

Kim Hartke on Taste of Slovenia Tour 2013

*The Original Story appeared on Hartkeisonline.com  by Kim Hartke with Headline: Supercenter Store Welcomes Raw Milk with Huge Fanfare. http://hartkeisonline.com/2009/12/01/supercenter-store-welcomes-raw-milk-with-huge-fanfare
Fresh Milk- a Traditional Food

Fresh Milk- a Traditional Food. Courtesy of Potokar Farms FaceBook

Can you imagine driving up to your favorite Target store, parking the car, shopping, and on the way out of the store, stopping for a quick quart of your favorite raw milk in a glass or plastic bottle? The success of the Mlekomats in Slovenia thus far have paved the way for just that.   Slovenian consumers can quickly and easily scoop up a quart on their way home, something totally unheard of in the US, where even possession of raw milk can be a crime in some states.

Ksenija & Ines enjoying some milk from the LeClerk Mlekomat

Ksenija & Ines enjoying some milk from the LeClerk Mlekomat. Photograph by Stanko Klemencic

Customers are enjoying more and more raw milk as Mlekomats are spreading further and further throughout Slovenia. Just recently a mlekomat opened at the busy hipermarket E. Leclerc, a French chain store, which is located in a large shopping mall in Rudnik, a suburb of Ljubljana, the capital city. Leclerc has the selection of a Walmart, but more upscale- rather like a Target with groceries- thus the name “hipermarket.”

Buttonbox band opens Mlekomat

Buttonbox band opens Mlekomat Courtesy of FaceBook Sveze Mleko-Kmetija Potokar

The opening of the Mlekomat was a special event, with live entertainment by a childrens’ buttonbox orchestra, and coverage by the radio station, Zeleni val  -Green wave.  Many customers shopping at the mall tried the milk machine.

See the coverage on the photo album from the  Potokar FaceBook at the following site:  Opening of the Mlekomat at LaClerc. On this page click: “album: otvoritev mlekomata” (opening of the Mlekomat) for more photos. For fun, join the Facebook Group “Sveze mleko-kmetija Potokar.”  Fresh Milk from Potokar Farms here:

To Your Health ! Courtesy Potockar Farms FaceBook

To Your Health ! Courtesy Potockar Farms FaceBook

http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=122393278057#/photo.php?pid=2514443&id=122393278057 

At the Mall, the Mlekomat is located directly outside the main entrance to the LeClerc store. At this location   customers have easy accessibility and unlimited free parking.  The farms which own and operate the machines in Slovenia, Kmetija Mis and Kmetija Potokar,  are placing more and more machines in areas where customers live and have easy access. (kmetija=farm  [kmeteeja])

Soon we anticipate drive-up mlekomats from these enterprising raw milk producers! Back to the US…we can only imagine how the US Raw Milk Police would deal with mlekomat machines on US soil ! Note: I contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture who told me essentially that these machines would not be allowed because they dispense “a hazardous substance.”  Yet machines dispensing chocolate drinks, sodas, and fake fruit juices are operating in schools and workplaces freely.

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Posted in beverages, Customs and Traditions, Ljubljana, Milk-O-Matic, Mlekomat, Taste of Slovenia Food Tour II, The Vibrant Slovenian Food Scene, traditional foods, Traveling to Slovenia | Leave a comment

Fresh Milk, Raw Milk, Anytime at the Mlekomat– Automatic Milk Machines in Slovenian Markets

Ljubljana MarketIn the Capitol, Ljubljana, a vibrant farmer’s market is operating every day of the week except Sundays. Located in the heart of the old town, green grocers, local farmers and townspeople sell their wares. What is in season, blooming, budding,  or for picking is available at the market.  The best market day is Saturday, when many extra activities go on in the market, such as baking bread, more merchants, music and flowers galore. On our Taste of Slovenia tour, we tour the market with renowned traditional foods expert, Dr. Janez Bogataj on Saturday for tastings and meeting farmers and artisans.

Dr. Janez Bogataj

Dr. Janez Bogataj

During the six years I lived in Slovenia I learned to appreciate quality of life.  A large part of that involves the availability of homemade and local foods. Slovenians are no strangers to raw and fermented foods. In the fall market raw lacto-fermentcd sauerkraut and its juice, and pickled turnips have been available for years. A recent addition to the market is

Automatic Milk Machine "Mlekomat"

Automatic Milk Machine
“Mlekomat”

the- mlekomat – an automatic raw milk machine which dispenses non-homogenized, non- pasteurized milk from cows that are never treated with antibiotics. Although raw milk in not available in supermarkets in Slovenia, pasteur­ized, non-homogenized milk can be found in most grocery stores. Slovenian researchers have found that fat from homogenized milk can accumulate and damage the walls of  blood vessels damaging them.  Chemical technology engineer Maja Tomkiewicz-Vouk feels that all homogenized milk, like cigarettes, should come with written warnings. She further stresses that the body cannot absorb calcium from homogenized milk, and that pasteurizing milk destroys most of its healthy properties, making processed milk only good for consuming calories. In the United States, processed milk is revered and the media does not cover possible dangers of dairy processing. According to Dr. Ron Schmid ND, in his book Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine, some U.S. medical professionals are researching homogenized milk and its effects on health. Dr. Kurt Oster, MD Head of Cardiology at Park City Hospital in Bridgeport. Connecticut, and Dr. Kurt Esselbacher of the Harvard Medical School believe that homogenized milk is a major cause of cardiovascular disease in the United States. These medical experts have found that the rate of heart disease for people living in countries where there is little homogenized milk in the diet is less than half of those living in the United States.

Sylvia at Mlekomat

Sylvia at Mlekomat

Several years ago  I visited Slovenia and had the opportunity to use the “mlekomat ” machine. It was delightful to watch the machine in action for the first time. Each patron performed the procedure very matter-of-factly before going on their way. I was excited when it was my turn, and couldn’t wait to taste the milk. The directions were in Slovenian, but also in English and  the machine was easy to use. The milk was the richest and creamiest milk I’ve ever tasted. It was a lovely and delicious surprise. It’s safe to say that my experience with the “mlekomat” made me a fan. The mlekomat system was developed in Switzerland and perfected in Italy. The area where the milk is dispensed is disinfected after each use with an ultraviolet antibacterial lamp. A special fan repels insects, and the temperature is automatically checked every 20 minutes by the machine’s software. The machine’s pro­gramming does not allow milk to be dispensed if it is more than 24 hours old, or if there has been an uncontrolled rise its temperature. Health inspectors have a control card which allows them to examine the machines when­ever they like. Individual farmers own and maintain their own machines.

Farmers are constantly in­formed about the status of their machines  through a GSM module in their mobile phones.  Farmers who own machines usually have a web page that presents information about their farm, their milk’s nutrition, and details about their mlekomat machine. Mlekomats, which are open 24 hours, have been a huge success. Shortly after their introduction in the Capitol, three other machines were in operation there, as well as in 11 other Slovenian cities. In neighboring Italy, just west of Slovenia,

Raw Milk Machine Locations in Italy

Raw Milk Machine Locations in Italy

over 1300 are in operation.  Map is courtesy of: http://www.milkmaps.com.

Posted in Automatic Raw Milk Machine, Dr. Janez Bogataj, Itinerary, Ljubljana Farmer's Market, Milk-O-Matic, Mlekomat, The Vibrant Slovenian Food Scene, traditional foods | Leave a comment

Welcome, Vesna, Goddess of Spring

Vesna on Slovenian Stamp

Vesna on Slovenian Stamp

In Slovenian mythology, Vesna was  a goddess-like figure who represented Spring as well as joy and youth.  In her honor, the people sang songs and held various rituals.  Vesna is also celebrated in Serbian, Croatian, and Russian mythology.  The beautiful Vesna lived on the mountain top in a palace but could not leave  except during the month of February, which is called Vesna in Old Slovenian. When she did come down the mountain she sang songs but only special people could hear her. Vesna’s companion is Vesnik.  Rituals to Vesna in Slovenia existed even after WWII. Vesna was a very popular female name during the 20th century. We celebrated the coming of the Spring Equinox and Vesna on March 20, 2014.  On the day of the equinox, night and day are around the same length of time – 12 hours – all over the world.

 

 

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OTOČEC CASTLE the only water castle in Slovenia. A lovely stop on our Tour

otocec on island 2 good

Grad Otocec1 Otocec

Otocec swan

Otocec swan

A very lovely stop on our Taste of Slovenia culinary tour in the Dolenjska region is the Otočec Castle, built on an island in the Krka river. The region is rich in history and natural beauty. The Castle dates to the 13th century when it was occupied by the Knights of Otočec, vassals of the Bishops of Freising.  After that it had a number of owners from the Tirolean Villanders family at the beginning of the 16th century, to the Margheri de Commadona family, who owned Otočec up to the end of the Second World War.  Two Slovenian classics by the author Ivan Tavčar, “Otok and Struga” and “Janez Sonce” are set here.

The natural conditions, which are created at Otočec by the Krka River with its numerous islelets, tufa shelves, river channels and exuberant vegetation, represent one of the most picturesque and attractive stretches of river. It has a great variety of aquatic habitats, which are characterized by 32 species of fish, including many rare and endangered species. For bird watchers, Mute Swans, Mallard Ducks, Grey Herons, Great Mitterns, Moorhens, and Kingfishers, with a greater variety of bird species in the winter, favor the Castle environs.

In the Middle Ages, for security reasons, a castle rampart was added, and an excavation of a new southern channel in  the river Krka transformed the former riverside post into an island,  joined to the mainland by a wooden bridge.  The castle was further fortified after the fierce Turkish raiding of Dolenjska in the 16th century.  Otočec castle was burnt during the Second World War and the castle furniture destroyed or dispersed.  Both wooden bridges were also damaged.  But the castle was renovated under the supervision of the heritage protection service in the 1950’s, the only castle in Dolenjska to be renovated of the many that were burnt during the WWII.

The Castle Park was laid out during the period at the turn of the 18th century.. The oldest trees in the park are around 100 years, but the majority were planted after the renovation of the castle the 1950’s. Native tree species are black alder, white willow, black poplar and oak.

Bride on her way to Otocec

Bride on her way to Otocec

Today the Castle is a Hotel and fine dining venue. Weddings and other important events are staged here.  When we visit the Castle, we will be welcomed by the Count,

The Count and his Entourage

The Count and his Entourage

then relax on the Castle terrace with a beverage,  stroll the grounds, view the beautiful Krka, and meet the many swans that inhabit the Castle waters.

Join us at Otočec Castle on Monday, June 2, 2014. After our visit to Otočec, we will head for the Turška gora hills to enjoy a picnic of Dolenjska specialties and sample the very special wine, cviček.

 

Castle Otocec on Krka  River

Castle Otocec on Krka River

Location of Otocec Castle

Location of Otocec Castle

http://www.terme-krka.si/en/grad_otocec/

Posted in Cvicek wine, Dolenjsko, Itinerary, Krka River, Otocec Castle, Otocec Swans, Taste of Slovenia Food Tour II | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Šmartno in Goriška Brda – a lovely stop on the Taste of Slovenia tour

Goriska brda region of Slovenia

Goriska brda region of Slovenia

The Goriška Brda region of Slovenia is located in the Western part of  the country bordering on Italy. This area is called “Slovenian Tuscany” because of the many  grape terraces in the region. It is also famous for cherries which ripen starting end of

Cherries from Goriska brda

Cherries from Goriska brda

May.  One on the many beautiful places in Brda is the medieval  walled village of  Šmartno with five preserved towers.   On our Taste of Slovenia 2014 tour we will spend some time in this village soaking up the local color- the beautiful landscape and lush countryside, the wines, the

Smartno with vineyards

Smartno with vineyards

traditional foods –and meeting the local people. From its perch on the sunny mountain top, Šmartno invites visitor to views  that reach toward Venice  and the Adriatic Sea.  The village is named for St. Martin, patron Saint of the wine.  Our hotel for our stay in Šmartno is the lovely San Martin Hotel  Hotel.

On FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/hotel.sanmartin.smartno

San Martin Hotel

San Martin Hotel

For more information about Šmartno see: http://www.slovenia.info. the Official Travel Guide by the Slovenian tourist Board.  http://bit.ly/1mlwNw6.

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In the FoodSteps of Dr. Weston A. Price–Herders in the Lötschental Valley and on the Velika Planina in Slovenia

The first group that Dr. Weston A. Price studied when he set out to determine the connections between diet, dental caries and  health, was a group of Swiss living in the isolated Lötschental Valley where the diet was centered on the raw dairy products produced from cows grazing on the nearby Alpine slopes, and the bread made from rye grown in the valley.

On the Velika Planina

On the Velika Planina

Much like those herders in the Swiss Alps, the local people still

Cika at home in the Alps

Cika at home in the Alps

graze their cows on the mountain pastures in Slovenia.  Some of these cows are the native Cika, whose short legs adapt them to

Cika Family on Mountain Pasture

Cika Family on Mountain Pasture

the rigors of mountain climbing.  On the Velika planina, the highest mountain plateau in Slovenia above the picturesque town of Kamnik in the Alps, the cows traditionally trek up the mountainside to graze the Alpine grass on the first Friday in June and remain until Fall. The locals celebrate when the cows go up and when they come down.

Plansar in front of mountain hut

Plansar in front of mountain hut

In the old days, the herders, called plansars (planina) wore a specific dress which they made from local plants. They collected the milk and made the trnic cheese with special tools. The trnic can be dried and eaten during the winter.   The herders lived in special mountain huts on the planina.  Most of the huts were destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.

On the Taste of Slovenia tour we journey up to the planina

Taste of Slovenia 2013

Taste of Slovenia 2013

with a guide and visit an authentic herdsman’s hut –now  a mini-museum which shows the life of the plansar in those days. We see how the trnic cheese is made, taste the cheese, and try our hand at making some ourselves.

Pisava - tools for making "trnic" cheese

Pisava – tools for making “trnic” cheese

Our guide explains all the intricacies of life on the planina including flora and fauna.  But the trnic cheese lives again through a program “Taste Kamnik” which was developed to honor and celebrate the local foods of the region.  After leaving the planina we meet at a local restaurant to enjoy some of the traditional “Taste Kamnik.”

DOBER TEK  (Enjoy your meal)  ! ! !

See you at the Rainbows End in Slovenia!

 

 

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Slovenia– “one of the most surprising and beautiful places on Earth” — Rough Guide for Slovenia 2014

Slovenia has been voted one of the must-see countries of 2014 by visitors to the “Rough

Ljubljana Castle with Alps

Ljubljana Castle with Alps

Guides” website, one of the world’s top online r travel guides. Site visitors have been  impressed by Slovenia’s “wonderfully , diverse terrain” and landmarks.  The Rough Guides website features travel tips and photo galleries from all over the world. Every year, visitors choose a selection of top destinations, cities and countries that are featured on the site.

Rough Guide to Slovenia

Rough Guide to Slovenia

Slovenia was voted one of the top countries, along with Chile, Malaysia, Wales and Pakistan. “This tiny country Slovenia is getting a lot of attention from Rough Guides Readers this year”, the site writes about Slovenia, citing some visitors who wrote that they still can’t get over how beautiful the country is and that it is “one of the most surprising and beautiful  places on Earth.”

Article courtesy of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA)

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