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Milk road - from the local producer to costumer. The farmers, local producers, rural communities, homesteads from Rietavas, Telsiai, Plunge and Kupiskis invite you to join the Milk road route and meet with villagers to hear their stories, learn and see how to make a cheese and other dairy products, try traditional regional dishes, buy rural products, test various health procedures and experience the hospitality of Lithuanian villages.
We encourage you to visit 32 objects Rietavas, Plunge, Tent and Kupiškis districts. Object services and products are unique and adapted to the specific needs of visitors, so we advice you to contact us and we will help you to arrange the visits and organize it.
Milk road route encourages and promotes slow, ecological, ethnographic tourism.
The Virtual Crafts Centre, established as a part of the Rietavas Business Information Centre (Rietavas BIC), provides information about the creative artists, local producers and craftspeople of Rietavas and their services as well as their location (on a map) and contact data. The Crafts Centre brings together in one place information about the goods and services offered by the local producers, craftspeople and creative artists of Rietavas, including four certified as National Heritage Products: felt boots, wooden toys, herbs and yeast-raised pie. The Rietavas BIC provides information about and organises meetings with the farmers, local craftspeople, producers, creative artists, rural communities and other providers of tourism services in and around Rietavas who offer educational programmes and regional products. The Rietavas BIC can put together a specific route to fit your individual wants and schedule. In addition, the Rietavas BIC provides consulting services to entrepreneurs, advises businesspeople on how to grow their business, prepares project applications and business plans, and administers projects.
The initiators of the local celebration of Michaelmas were the dukes Oginskis. During the period in which they governed Rietavas, Michaelmas was celebrated for an entire week. The centuries-old traditions of the celebration and fair were brought back to life in 2001 and since then, they have been held in the Rietavas park on the last weekend of September. During Michaelmas, an idiosyncratic celebration for discussing, enjoying and evaluating all the work accomplished in the past year, there are fairs, concerts and an open-air market.
As in the old days, so too today the products in highest demand in the Michaelmas open-air market are dairy products, especially those made by cheesemakers. They not only sell fresh, healthy, organic products made from the milk of locally-raised cows, they are also excellent masters of their craft, able and willing to inform anyone who takes an interest. You can always rely on folk artists, craftspeople and amateur artists to present surprises: at the celebration, you can buy the most varied works of art, taste a variety of homemade dishes, watch presentations of various crafts and participate in games of chance. Thanks to the craftspeople, the annual fair is decorated with folk and stylised clothes, beautiful linen tablecloths, bouquets of wildflowers in a riot of colours, and kindly sellers, who first offer you a sample, and only then suggest you buy. Another interesting accent of Michaelmas is the traditional equestrian event of show jumping and an appearance by horses of the žemaitukas (little Samogitian) breed, a historic Lithuanian horse breed.
The Oginski Cultural History Museum of Rietavas, an institution funded by the Municipality, has been in operation since 2000. It is located in a building rebuilt from the ruins of the mid-19th century Oginski manor architectural ensemble, in which the music school of the duke Bogdan Oginski (1848–1909) functioned from 1874 to 1903.
Visitors to the Museum can get acquainted with the cultural heritage of the dukes Oginski in Rietavas as well as the area’s history. Visitors get to know the history of the Rietavas manor, the innovations of the dukes Oginski (among others, the first agricultural school in Lithuania, which the family established in 1859), and historic agricultural shows, which encouraged local economic activity (including progressive farming methods and traditional crafts).
In 1990, the farm was established by Stanislovas Antanas Jurkus. Now he and his two sons manage the farm. It is a mixed farm (raising crops and livestock), with about 200 hectares of land under cultivation and about 150 animals, of which 75 are dairy cows. Progressive farming technology is used. The farm is a member of the “Pieno gėlė” cooperative (S. A. Jurkus is one of the founders of the cooperative). In 2004, the State Food and Veterinary Service of the Republic of Lithuania awarded the farm “Pieno sveikumo ženklas” (Milk Wellness Badge), number LT01-116F.
The farm also educates visitors. The owners acquaint visitors with the latest milk production technologies, showing how animal fodder is prepared, explaining how to look after cows and how to milk them, and demonstrating the equipment used on the farm. Field days are also held at the farm.
The crafts farm was established in 2012. Visitors to the farm can see and try out for themselves the equipment used in the old crafts, visit the museum of old-fashioned housewares, try products made from goats’ milk and tea made from local herbs, and hear stories about the crafts featured at the farm. Educational activities in ceramics, stained-glass making, mosaics, painting and flower-arranging are available. International artists’ symposia are held in Tverai.
In 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture’s commission for certifying national heritage products, traditional crafts, teaching programmes and craftspeople awarded the crafts farm a national heritage product certification (category A) for herbs.
Public institution “Rietavo žirgynas” was established in 2010, seeking to carry on the tradition begun by the dukes Oginski in Rietavas of keeping and raising an old breed of horse that had long been in decline (the žemaitukas, or little Samogitian), as well as to propagate horse-riding in Rietavas and throughout Lithuania, to organise sporting events and to encourage youth to spend their free time in a productive way. The horse farm occupies an area of 50 hectares. An educational programme, “Pažink Rietavo kraštą su žirgais” (Get to know the Rietavas area on horseback), has been prepared. The route is active from August 2015, accepting groups of 6–14 people. We offer participants a 15-km route through the Rietavas area, acquainting riders with natural, cultural and historical sites and interesting locations (Vatušiai, Budrikiai, Lioliai). Meeting the rural residents, you can listen to their stories and, of course, taste and buy the local farmers’ products, among them traditional Samogitian dairy products. A flock of 40 organic sheep are raised at the horse farm, so you can order lamb and mutton.
At the Rietavas horse farm, educational and sporting groups are welcome, and visitors can spend weekends with the horses, participate in competitions and celebrations, organise picnics and outings, and rent horses or a carriage for weddings and photo sessions.
The medieval crafts, warfare and folk lore yard is only beginning to take shape. The idea’s authors are Mindaugas and Miglė Valaitis, who moved out of Vilnius and settled in Rietavas. They seek to set up a space next to the Rietavas open-air market for showcasing medieval warfare and crafts and for organising educational activities for adults as well as children about their ancestors’ way of life and customs. It is planned to build roofed stalls in which dairy farmers and cheesemakers can sell their products, demonstrate their crafts, e.g., the cheese production traditions and processes, the necessary tools and so on. An open-air market for selling products made by local producers will be open on Sundays, the Rietavas open-air market days.
“Alkos ūkis” was established by Dalia and Andrius Mickus. 30 species of birds, including pheasants, quails, chickens, geese and ducks, are raised at the poultry farm, which was established in 2010. From 2015, visitors can go on an excursion around the farm (an excursion in which visitors are acquainted with the various species of birds raised at the farm, and an excursion together with a tasting of eggs and products made from milk and eggs).
The countryside tourism homestead (owner Janina Rumšienė) is surrounded by four wonderful lakes within the territory of the Žemaitija National Park, on then shores of Žiedelis Lake, 4 km from the town of Plateliai and about 15 km from Plungė. Cosy rooms with all essential conveniences are available to guests. The homestead has many varied recreational opportunities, from an outdoor tennis court to a sauna with a hot tub.
Guests may order local (Samogitian) dishes prepared according to recipes handed down by the owner’s grandmother and mother-in-law. The dairy products used to prepare the food (milk, soured milk, farmer’s cheese and so on) are purchased from local farmers. In 2012, national heritage product certification was awarded for producing kastinys (a Samogitian dish made from cream, soured milk and butter flavoured with herbs). Recipe for kastinys: 1.5 liters of fresh cream, a teaspoon of butter, caraway seeds, garlic, salt. Using a wooden spoon, turn together a tablespoon of cream and a tablespoon of butter in a clay bowl. When small lumps form, continue to turn, having placed the first bowl into another bowl containing hot water (do not overheat). Remove the first bowl from the water, add another tablespoon of cream and continue to turn, again heating the first bowl. Continue in this fashion until all cream has been used. When finished turning, the mass should be of uniform consistency, of whitish colour. When the mass begins to thicken, add the caraway seeds or garlic.Serve with hot, unpeeled potatoes.
This is a small family farm. A farm has existed at this location for more than 200 years. The Klapatauskas family became the farm’s owners in 2010. They soon purchased a Jersey cow and began making cheese. The farmers follow the principle “we grow it ourselves, we make it ourselves, we sell it ourselves”. Now the farm’s main activity is production and sale of fermented cheeses, genuine ricotta (whey) cheese, natural yogurt and clarified butter made from the raw, unpasteurised milk of its own cows. Cheese-tasting sessions are held on the farm, as are excursions around the farm’s historic environs for small groups (only after making arrangements in advance, in summer, for groups of 10-20 persons).
Arūnas and Natalija Normantas have been raising goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese and rabbits on their farm since 2004. They began with the purchase of a single goat, from whose milk they made cheese. Their friends and acquaintances praised its taste. Step by step, more and more animals found a place on the farm: free-range chickens, the eggs of which may also be purchased, turkeys, geese and rabbits. The owners take great pride in the traditional Lithuanian cheeses made from the milk of hand-milked goats and sheep. Visitors can also try yogurt made from sheep’s milk, which is of a solid consistency, live-culture, made without any additives. All of these products may be purchased at the farm, where the owners treat visitors to tea made from locally-picked herbs (visits must be arranged in advance).
Saulius Petrutis and his wife established their farm in 1990, the first in the village of Gegrėnai. The farmers continue to expand their successful dairy farm, taking an interest in farming innovations, participating in seminars, sharing best practice. The farm is a recipient of the “Metų ūkis” (Farm of the Year) award. Using European Union funds as well as the farmers’ own investment, facilities have been built for processing the milk produced on the farm, and in the near future production of curds and quark will begin. It is planned to obtain certification for the products as organic, and visitors will be able to purchase them at the farm (for further information, contact Sandra and Donatas Kaktys).
The organic goat farm “Geltona pieva”, established by Gintė and Zigmas Kazlauskas, has been in operation since 2012. The farm’s main activity is production of fermented cheese from the milk of goats and sheep. Semi-hard and soft fermented cheeses are made from goat’s milk, including fresh cheese as well as cheese matured in an old-time cellar and feta-type cheese bits in oil with dried tomatoes, basil, garlic or rosemary. In the future, it is planned to begin producing yogurt and cheese from sheep’s milk. Visitors can purchase the farm’s products, ride the žemaitukas (little Samogitian horse breed) mare Klumpė, and see how fermented cheese is made (as part of the educational programme “Cheese Road”). Upon arrangement in advance by telephone, the homestead may be visited on any day of the week.
The countryside tourism homestead “Iešnalė” was established in 2000 in Žemaitija National Park, on Iešnalis Lake. The homestead’s founders and owners are Albinas and Elena Klimas. 40 guests may be accommodated. There is a banquet hall as well as a conference room that may be used for other occasions as well. A Lithuanian sauna (steam bath) is also available. Guests are invited to have a taste of Samogitian dishes made from dairy products, including cream, butter and soured milk: kastinys and šmakalas (a cold soup made from kefir), flour rolls with curds and caraway seeds (“Iešnalės klumpės”).
Four labyrinths have been built in the park, which was established in 2009 by the park’s owners, J. and A. Jakimavičius. Labyrinths are an ancient device to aid meditation. A visitor strolling through the park’s labyrinths, gazing on the mandala “Gyvybės gėlelė”, sitting next to the merkaba or in the dome, can relax, receive inspiration, thoughts, ideas and answers to life’s questions as well as an opportunity to be “here and now”. At the park’s shop, visitors can purchase various souvenirs and enjoy coffee, organic herbal tea, other refreshing beverages and INGMAN ice cream.
Since 1985, the homestead’s owner, Marijona Striaukienė, and her daughter, Jurgita, have cultivated the culinary heritage traditions inherited from Marijona’s mother-in-law and Jurgita’s grandmother S. Striaukienė, the teacher, folk artist and author of books about the Samogitian culinary heritage J. Uginčienė and the women of the local area. They take great pride in traditional kastinys, which they serve to the homestead’s guests and present at tourism exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. Kastinys is made from homemade cream and homemade soured milk. By tradition, it is flavoured with salt, caraway seeds and/or garlic, and is eaten together with hot potatoes, having been dunked into hemp. Other traditional Samogitian dishes certified as national heritage products
are also produced at the homestead. In 2014, the homestead competed in the contest “Lietuvaitės šeimininkės” and took first place. The homestead has been providing accommodation and other tourism services for 15 years, organising educational programmes, at which various Samogitian and Lithuanian dishes are presented.
The guest suite complex “Saulės slėnis” is located on the eastern shore of Plateliai Lake in Žemaitija National Park. The 2.4-hectare area runs along the slope of a hill covered with century-old spruce trees. The hill overlooks the spring-fed Sultekis reservoir. In addition to accommodation, the complex offers an educational programme on sauna culture. Herbs gathered from the local forests and meadows as well as milk products produced by local farmers are used to perform beauty and health procedures.
A sport area with a cushioning surface has been installed for outdoor tennis, basketball, football, volleyball and badminton, and sport equipment, bicycles and rowboats may be rented. The complex is open year-round, and visitors may order services by telephone, internet or upon arrival.
“EKO Žemaitija” traces its origins to 2003, when the Public Organisation Telšiai District Organic Farming Development Group was registered. A year later, the group attained the status of an association, and on its basis the present-day cooperative “EKO Žemaitija” was registered in 2006. Seeking to sell products directly to consumers, in 2011 the cooperative began to put into practice the idea “From the field straight to the table”. Certified organic milk from the best farms in the cooperative is used for making the cooperative’s products. Products are made with pasteurised milk and cultured with bacterial fermenting. Artificial additives are not used, so the products are always healthy, fresh and ORGANIC. A wide variety of organic dairy products are sold in big-city shopping centres across Lithuania, open-air markets and in specialised organic-goods sales locations, in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Telšiai, Plungė, Gargždai, Kelmė and Raseiniai.
Seeking to acquaint consumers with healthy and organic products, the cooperative participates in fairs, festivals and other events, where it presents its products. Special orders are accepted for various occasions (weddings, birthdays, name-days and so on).
“Žemaitijos hidroenergija” owns the countryside tourism homestead “Angelų malūnas”, located at a cultural heritage site that was renovated in 2010. A museum has been opened at the mill, in which old-fashioned grainmilling equipment is on display. Tourism services are provided: accommodation, conference halls, bicycle and kayak rental. Educational programmes are offered, among them – a sauna programme. Our ancestors knew how useful and even irreplaceable a sauna can be. Our sauna procedures are distinctive for the soured milk products that are used in them. The programme may be arranged in advance by telephone or by e-mail.
The Kaunatava community was established in 2005. Implementing a Project financed by the EU, the community renovated an old barn and set up a crafts yard in which it is planned to organise educational activities, e.g., how to make the so-called “apple cheese” (in Lithuanian, obuolių sūris) or bake the so-called “honey biscuits” (in Lithuanian, “meduoliai”) according to an old-fashioned recipe, and artistic papercutting lessons. The educational activities are conducted by Virginija Galinienė, Vilija Jocienė and Dainora Macevičienė.
This is a family business (the owner is Sandra Riepšienė), which began in 2009. At first, the business idea was to make kvass according to grandmother’s recipe. Later, seeking to carry on the old-fashioned family traditions, the grandmother’s and other collected recipes were used to begin making products such as kastinys, carrot sweets and tree cake. Now the business sells its products in fairs, festivals, open-air markets and in food shops emphasising the quality of Lithuanian farms. Seeking to carry on national heritage traditions, UAB “Kontėna” has also organised educational programmes since 2012: “Žemaitiško tradicinio kastinio sukimas” (making traditional Samogitian kastinys) and “Sviesto mušimas” (butter-churning). The programmes are available by arrangement in advance. Other available products include homemade Žarėnai kvass, Samogitian kastinys, carrot cukierka and tree cake “Žarėnioks” (all these products have been certified as national heritage products); the so-called “apple cheese”, the so-called “carrot cheese” with ginger, home-baked bread, “Gurmanų” cookies, a whey beverage, Danutė’s curd pie, and sugar-free cookies “Rugelis”.
Visitors may purchase these products right where they’re made or by an order arranged in advance. Traditional Samogitian dishes may also be ordered: cibulynė (cold onion soup), traditional Samogitian kastinys, spirginė (hempseeds with salt and onions). In addition, products made to individual order in advance can be delivered to Lithuania’s big cities.
Having implemented the project“ Amatų kiemelio įrengimas ir pritaikymas bendruomenės poreikiams”, a bakery for baking bread and rolls as well as a space for conducting educa-
tional activities have been opened in the town of Luokė. The dairy products needed for the baked goods are purchased from local farmers.
The purposes of the Adomynė village community, established in 2002, are to cultivate and beautify Adomynė village and its living environment, and to make the cultural and culinary heritage of the Kupiškis area accessible to visitors. Since 2014, the community has been organising educational programmes about the culinary heritage of Adomynė village and the surrounding area. Programmes take place at the Adomynė manor, a cultural heritage site. During the educational programmes, hot manor rolls (in the old days, called “funeral rolls”) are baked with a curd filling. Since the 19th century, such rolls were baked only in Adomynė and the area surrounding it. The traditions and recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Certification of Adomynė’s “funeral rolls” as culinary heritage is being sought. In addition, the community’s members make cheese of various kinds, which are available for purchase by visitors to the Adomynė manor. Each autumn, a celebration of non-traditional cheese is organised. The community organises the educational programmes “Smagu širdžiai – gardu pilvui” (Fun for the heart, tasty for the belly) for adults and “Adomynės lobio ieškojimas” (Searching for the treasure of Adomynė) for pupils.
Visitors can also celebrate Easter, Pentecost and the Feast of St Anthony of Padua (it is necessary to arrange a visit in advance).
The countryside homestead “Čivonkiemis” (owned by Ramunė Lapienienė and Rolandas Verbliugevičius) has been open since 2013. It is a family business: hosting and catering services are offered, and food is prepared and supplied to events and occasions. Up to 25 people can make use of the homestead “Čivonkiemis”. There is a mobile sauna, a hot tub, tents for up to 50 people for use in banquets, and visitors may rent outdoor furniture, order food and put up tents. Accommodations are available for up to 14 people. And here are the milk desserts you can enjoy, if you order in advance before visiting: curd muffins with mascarpone, a milkshake “Uoga” (Berry), a cake/roll “Varškės gaivumas”, and panna cotta.
The Kupiškis TBIC gathers, collects and provides information free of charge to tourists about the tourism services, resources and locations of the Kupiškis area. Excursions, events and seminars are organised, and various souvenirs related to the Kupiškis area are available for purchase. The Kupiškis TBIC cooperates closely with local farmers and those who use dairy products to make their goods.
The cooperative “Pieno puta” was established in 2004. At present, more than one thousand farmers across the Kupiškis, Biržai, Rokiškis, Pasvalys, Zarasai, Utena, Ukmergė and Anykščiai districts belong to the cooperative. There are 58 centralised milk-collection points and 60 independently-working dairy farms. UAB “Bagaslaviškio pieninė” can trace its history back to 1930. After World War II, the company was nationalised and became the Širvintos central butter factory workshop. In 2013, after being privatised and with the combined efforts of the members of the cooperative “Pieno puta” and the specialists working in the creamery, the company became a contemporary, low-capacity maker of traditional, natural Lithuanian dairy products. Products are made only from the cows’ milk supplied by Lithuanian farmers, and no vegetable fats, stabilisers or emulsifiers are used in production. Bagaslaviškio pieninė’s products have captured quite a few awards: in 2011, its 22-percent-fat quark with dill earned a gold medal at the “Lietuvos metų gaminys 2011 m.”; in 2012, its 30-percent-fat sour cream earned a silver medal at the same competition; in 2013, its spicy curd spread with dried tomatoes earned a gold medal at the same competition; in the 5th exhibition of Lithuanian producers, its natural curd spread with dill was awarded a gold medal at the show “Rinkis prekę lietuvišką 2013”; in 2014, the smoked cheese “Gintarėliai” was awarded a gold medal at the “Lietuvos metų gaminys 2014”. All products have been certified in accordance with the HACCP system. Bagaslaviškio pieninė’s products can be found in local open-air markets, small shops, certain large shopping centres and at sites participating in the project “Pieno kelias” (Milk Road).
The family’s business idea was born out of its wish to share what they themselves had created and learned. Because modern life surrounds us with much stress, tension and negative emotions, it is vital not to “lose oneself”, and to find one’s true self. We intend to implement our ideas from June 2015. We have prepared a programme of services called “Lyg iš pieno” (as if from milk), in which many of the procedures are performed using milk products. Up to 5 persons may participate in the programme at one time, the price to be agreed in advance. In addition, we plan to offer a sauna, to organise educational activity (presenting non-traditional wellness methods, including breathing, dance, gong sound, aroma and colour therapies), and to organise wellness camps.
The Uoginiai Crafts Centre is located at the Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum’s branch in the A. Petrauskas Museum, implementing the 2014–2015 local project “Amatų centro įkūrimas Uoginių kaime, Kupiškio rajone”. Uoginiai village is well-known for its unique museum, founded in 1969 by the ordinary farmer Adomas Petrauskas at his homestead. The museum displays household items, publications, folk sculptures, and stands featuring the photographs and biographies of prominent figures. The homestead’s surroundings are decorated with a collection of field stones and millstones of impressive size and forms, and trees and bushes collected, brought back from the forest, and planted by A. Petrauskas himself continue to flourish. Visitors may put up tents at the museum, and there is a fire ring for campfires.
The purposes of the Uoginiai crafts centre are to bring together traditional crafts and the makers of milk products, to organise events accenting ethnocultural craft traditions and encouraging entrepreneurship among crafts people. The following educational programmes have been prepared: “Bitės liemuo, lino gelmuo” (candle-making), “Medaus kelias” (honey road), “Kalėdų avinėlis” (wool fulling and paper cutting), “Vytelių dailumas” (weaving), “Molio šiluma” (clay), “Sanobinas kupiškėnų vesėlios”, “Pakišuolio gardumas” (bread-baking), “Gyvybės medis” (a certified paper cutting programme).
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