Istoria și tradiția cultivării fructelor
Going into details regarding the history and tradition of fruit cultivation in traditional orchards, things get a little more complicated. It is certain that fruit growing started in the 18th century, i.e. about 300 years ago. Until then, the locals mainly grew sheep, as it happened in other villages in Mărginimea Sibiului. From this point on, history developed along two separate, yet beautifully intertwining threads, with which I will try to weave a new reality to be used by all of us in the years to come. The first version of this story is that of Father Lebu in the neighbouring village of Fântânele or Cacova, who determined the local people to start growing fruit trees and showed them the benefits of orchards for the community. The second variant, which I found out from an Austrian organization, reveals a more European side to this phenomenon. According to this story, not long before 1764, when the border guards regiment in Orlat was set up, the imperial army wanted to enlist locals. Apparently, they realised that, because of the vitamin-deficient diet of the native population, future soldiers were underdeveloped and in poor health. According to this legend, the uniforms that were brought for them in fairly standardized sizes were much too big for the border guards. So, the army doctors seem to have decided to establish orchards on a big area in Southern Transylvania. In this sense, they brought a collection of fruit trees already managed in Austrian lands, made up of several varieties from various European royal courts. This also explains the high number of varieties in existence nowadays and reflects the European reality of the time.
I think the truth is somewhere in between: initiatives probably kicked off in that period, had similar purposes, and in time people preferred to draw benefits from the advantages of both projects. As it happens now, when it matters less who was the first and where each variety originates. Instead, the important thing is that we assume the role of taking this heritage further!