Homeland of the vegetable growers of the north, with products like in the time of the grandparents. Where is the “Oltenia” of the north

A county in the extreme north of Romania has become a true “Oltenia” of Moldova. In Botoșani, in the last two decades dozens of vegetable farms have appeared with farmers from the countryside producing vegetables like in the time of their grandparents. Many of them also convinced their children not to go abroad.

In Botoșani, several vegetable farms have been developed PHOTO Cosmin Zamfirache

When we talk about vegetables, we automatically think of the counties in the south of the country, especially those of Oltenia. Also, Galati county has a special tradition in this field. In the last two decades, however, in the extreme north of Moldova, with a modest tradition in the field of growing vegetables, but famous for cereals and animal husbandry, the newest and most surprising vegetable basins in Romania have developed. Many locals from the villages of Botoșani County prefer not to go abroad, but to invest in solariums and the cultivation of different types of vegetables, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. The representatives of institutions with an agricultural profile say that it is an accelerated development, stimulated by government interventions in agriculture and also by the investments of local residents.

“I wanted to keep my son at home”

Costică Aniculăesei from the town of Hudum, is one of the most important vegetable growers in the Botoșani area. He has over a hectare of solariums where he grows many varieties of vegetables, but especially tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants. He sells them at the gate or at a stall in the market. He manages to support two families from what he earns. Nea Costică confesses that she started out 18 years ago, with only two wooden solariums. Out of the desire to keep his son at home, not to go to work abroad.

“We started with two solariums. I had this land here at Hudum and I didn’t want to loose my boy abroad. I wanted to keep my son at home. And I raised a solar, then the second. He liked it and since then I have been tanning. Every year two. Now we manage to support two families from our work”, says the Botošan resident. In his situation, there are more than 105 farmers from the whole county, only on tomatoes. “I had the opportunity to go abroad, but I invited this opportunity with a solarium. I said, “let’s try”. My wife and I got down to business. And it went. Fresh vegetables were in demand and we kept evolving,” says another farmer from the Flămânzi area. “In 2024, we have 105 tomato producers enrolled in the program. We have 145 garlic producers and three potato producers. Every year there has been an increase in this component of vegetable growers,” Cristian Delibaș, director of the County Agricultural Directorate, also states.

Consecrated vegetable ponds in the north of Moldova

Agricultural authorities say that government programs such as “tomatoes” or “vegetables” have started this momentum among farmers. They receive, on the tomato program, for example, 3000 euros, in two installments. “The Ministry of Agriculture supports this component of vegetable farming by granting vegetable growers for the tomato program, in the first phase, 1,500 euros, following after the capitalization and proving the commercialization of the production, let’s come with another 1,500 euros,” adds Cristian Delibaș. Many of those who managed to set up the business, reinvested the profit and developed, erecting high-performance solariums and applying the latest technologies, both for crop care, water supply and winter heating. This is how we arrived at already established vegetable pools. “The Flămânzi basin, the Dorobanti basin, Știubieni, Săveni or here near the municipality of Botoșania we have vegetable growers who have developed, applied the latest technology”, says the director of the County Agricultural Directorate.

“It’s work from morning to night”

But the Botošan vegetable growers say that success comes due to the reinvestment of the money earned but also to sustained work. “I grew up here. As a small child I was involved in agriculture. Since I got married, I have made it a family business, I have even involved the children. We are five members who work on the vegetables in the field as well as those in the greenhouse. We have potatoes, tomatoes, melons, eggplants, everything. We are five family members working in vegetable farming. From January to December, that’s what we do. It is a colossal job but this is the legacy of our forefathers and it is our bread. I inherited the passion from my parents, who were farmers from father to son”, says Florin Damian, from the Dorobanti vegetable basin.

“It’s work from January to December. Constanta, from morning to night. This is the only way to get work done in this field,” adds Costică Aniculăesei. Vegetable growers from Botoșani sell their products in the markets of Botoșani county. Some end up taking them to other counties. They are famous for their authentic taste, especially because they use organic methods. “We prioritize quality, not quantity. We do not use chemical fertilizers, we use manure, we avoid chemical intervention. We are not wholesale manufacturers. We sell our goods at the stall, and our families also eat from those goods. So we don’t poison ourselves,” says Liviu Cotruţă, another producer from Botoșani.