When I arrived in the small village of Jarenina at the end of February, it was like coming home to me. The warm hug of Maja and Matjaž, the crackling fire in the oven and a delicious tea made from home-grown herbs were the start of an unforgettable time.
It was cold and snowing in Jarenina when my voluntary service started. On a farm that makes a living from growing fruit, vegetables and grain, there is not much to do in winter, there is time to rest or time to do things for which there is no time during the year. One of the first challenges was removing an old apple orchard with tall trees. Fortunately, I didn't have to do this on my own, as two other volunteers live on the farm with me. The beginning of the year is also the time of sowing and planting. Potatoes, onions, garlic and also carrots, beetroot and other vegetables found their way into the soil.
With increasing temperature, sunshine and rain, the variety of tasks expanded. There was a lot of weeding, hoeing and harvesting. Not only the cultivated plants shot up, but also weeds such as wild amaranth, dandelion and convolvulus.
In mid-May, the most beautiful part of my voluntary service began: the berry season. From now on we had to harvest (and eat) berries one to three times a week. First strawberries, followed by blueberries, currants, black raspberries, blackberries and red raspberries. In the middle of September, it was time for the last berries for this year, the aronia berries. A harsh-tasting vitamin C heroine who is very popular here in Slovenia and is slowly becoming known in Germany as well.
Now, in November, the feeling of saying goodbye is slowly spreading. In agriculture, the time when the days get shorter and colder is also the time when large parts of the yield are harvested. The last few weeks have been shaped by potatoes, carrots, beetroot and many other vegetables being brought in for the winter storage. I finally can see what we have been working for all year long. It's an overwhelming feeling to be part of this cycle. To have helped grow a plant from a single seed and harvest delicious fruits from it. And it wasn't just the plants that developed and grew, I myself grew during this time as well.