Monday, October 15, 2012

The Agritourism Experience

I confess I cheated on y'all and took my first overseas trip, to Poland, specifically rural south Poland (Carpathian and Tatra Mountains) with a group doing "agritourism," and now I know what that means. Our group of 12 visited Polish villages and learned about their foodways, and the cooks gave us lessons in their kitchens, so now I can fold a cabbage roll properly, and make pelmenyi, little Polish tortellinis stuffed with meat (pictured) and served in borscht. I brought back a jar of rose-petal jam. Once back in the U.S., I combed the big city for piernikis (gingerbread cookies filled with plum jam and dunked in chocolate) and Polish lemon vodka. We saw the clean and beautiful Polish countryside with farms and trout streams and pastures unmarred by chemical spraying, and we visited craftspeople and open-air markets and it was harvest time with so many purple plums, fruit, cucumbers for pickling, dried flowers and fresh sheep's milk cheeses and breads; and we hiked two of Poland's great national parks, set aside for posterity because they know when they've got a good thing going. That's the difference between most Poles and most Americans.
     Part of our agri-tour was arranged and hosted by

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