“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…the people who give you their food give you their heart.”(Cesar Chavez)
The story of the event or experience, how it started and evolved to its current form, when it started, what is unique about it, how popular the experience is with locals/visitors to the area etc…
The successful story started in 1991 when the concept of the ecological tourist farm was set up and the promotion of it widely stated. Thirteen years later, in the year 2014 mother Vilma handed over the reins to her daughter Urška, who brought the modernity and freshness of new ideas as a representative of a younger generation. Since than daughter Urška successfully continues the family story while maintaining and developing the farm by adding some new concepts and using all disposable means of modern promotion. The feedback of the guests is received through their published opinion and photos on the social networks which is also the best promotion for the place. Additionally Urška added an “old fashioned” but very interesting mean of communication – a “Wish Box” where the daily wishes of the guests are written every day. This daily communication is covering the food wishes as well as some complaints on accommodation that sometimes also appear. Finally, this way everything is solved before the guests leave and the later feedback cannot be nothing else but positive.
The essence of this family-run touristic-farm is the approach to the nature. The farm was officially recognised and registered as the ecological farm already in the year 2009 and since than the Topolšek family received a numerous awards and certificates of their sustainable way of life. One of them is the »Ecolabel« – the official label of the European Union which The Tourist Farm Urška received in the year 2011. This label was the first of this kind ever awarded in Slovenia at all. The first official sustainable certificate is a part of the »Slovenia Green Accommodation Project«, which makes it one of the best practices in Slovenia and sets standards to others in this industry.
Since the place was twice awarded especially for the environmentally friendly tourist accommodations the sustainability is not only related to the food and its production but it is to feel at every step – even when going to sleep there is a smell of the wood from the near forest. The furniture is artistically crafted by the neighbouring manufacturer of wooden products. The every day’s work is strategically divided among the family members and represents a real challenge since it must be done perfectly in order to meet all set aims and ecological standards as well as satisfy the tourists who came to the place especially due to the promoted uniqueness of this Farm.
However, the main point of it all has always been the approach to nature. The family has learned to respect and love nature and thus they teach the guests to do the same. They nag them about the use of plastics and always look for new modern ways to introduce the sustainability principle and sustainable living in co-existence with nature. That is why there are bottles in all rooms – to encourage guests to use the excellent tap water.
The tourists being hosted at the Tourist farm Urška widely use social networks, among them very frequently Facebook and Instagram where they post pictures and feelings from their holidays in the nature. Instead of the book of compliments and complaints the »magic box« is available. The guests can leave their messages about their wishes during their stay. Respectively the host is preparing the dishes as per these wishes, organises trips or, if necessary, repairs and makes up the missing matters as per requests of the guests. The compliments of the guests are mainly mentioning a beautiful nature, the hospitality and flexibility of the family Topolšek who is running the tourist farm.
Tell the customer what they will get and why they should include this experience in their itinerary.
What food/beverage is included, what producers they will meet,
The core of the unique concept in this Tourist Farm consists of involvement of the guests in the every day’s farm activities – especially work at the field where the guests can collect the vegetables themselves and the children can search for eggs – all used later with the meals. The menu is also a special issue – it namely doesn’t exist. The wishes of the guests today are namely on the plate tomorrow. Also certain other wishes of the guests are followed by the hosts at their best.
The cellar is pleasantly cool and lit by pottery lamps. The shelves contain a boutique offering of bottles of Blaufränkisch and several white wine varieties, from Italian Riesling and Rhein Riesling to Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon. Their vineyards are organic. They strengthen vines with organic sprays as they begin to grow, giving it good conditions for further growth.
As an expert for traditional recipes mother Vilma makes them almost effortlessly – with a perfect pattern and without eggs, making them suitable for veganstoo. Urška likes to enhance her dishes with a pinch of modernity and her own unique touch. She boosts them with wild plants and edible flowers from their garden. They produce almost 90 per cent of everything by themselvesin their fields, in their vineyard and nurseries. They get the rest from their neighbours since the sustainability also means the attitude to the surroundings and other local providers. The important principles in running their tourist farm are namely not only the promotion of destination but also good relationships with neighbours: “If the locals are satisfied, guests feel better and choose to return. ”The main locally supplied products are salt, flour, milk and honey.
The essence of the boutique character of the Urška’s Farm is not only in additional wellness services they provide, but also in the homely feeling complementing special experiences. Before the guests go home, there is another ritual waiting for them. Urška takes you to the field and puts a small wooden crate into your hands. When you become startled, thinking you will have to pull weeds in the steep hill, she delights you with the fact that you can pick vegetables to take home with you. In the hall, you can look around for organic products sold under their own brand and choose from a wide range of jams, teas, juices, wines and felt slippers made by Urška’s mother-in-law. Created from the wool from Topolšek’s sheep, of course. In this way, you can relive the experiences you enjoyed at the Urška Tourist Farm in your own home.
List of local Producers:
90% of the food is produced at the Tourist Farm Urška by them. The remaining 10% are from the local producers and from the shops (e.g. sugar, coffee, etc..)
Main local producers/suppliers are:
- Salt: ECO HERBS GARDEN MAJNIKA ; http://majnika.si/ (in Slovenian language only)
- Honey: BEE KEEPING KRIVEC ; Čebelarstvo krivec (no webpage)
- Flour: THE SORŽEV MILL http://sorzev-mlin.si (in Slovenian language only)
- Milk: the neighbour
Location: 8 km from the small city of Slovenske Konjice – see enclosed map
Opening time: 6 a.m. – 22 p.m. –
Seasonal: NO – all seasons but mainly during summer and winter holidays
Accessibility of the destination: the tourist farm Urška is accessible by car 12 km of distance from the motorway Maribor-Ljubljana, the nearest railway station is in Celje (30 km away), the Maribor International airport is 28 km away.
Transport options: the best option is own transport (car / rent-a-car)
Accommodation: guestrooms at the Tourist Farm Urška
Duration of events/activities: 16h – every day
Applicable languages: English, German, Italian, Russian
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