Let’s visit the countryside and coastline!
The people you meet during a trip make your memories brighter. When you set out to find out about farmer’s treats and countryside food, everyone will have an opportunity to meet the most diverse fruit and berry, vegetable and plant farmers, be introduced with the biological farms and visit museums telling about the traditional lifestyle.
If we speaking about coastline holiday-makers usually associate the beach with sun, sea, wind and relaxation. But the fisherman’s life has never been easy. How much we know about it? It is best to go and explore for yourself.
Domestic Animals and Fowl
You can meet some goats and taste goat cheese at the biological farm “Birznieki”. If you want to learn more about goats and sheep, as well as rabbits and various fowl, go to the sheep farm “Mucenieki”. In the springtime, you will have a chance to meet young lambs, and upon making arrangements you can participate in feeding and sheering. In the summer time, you can visit the biggest herd of alpacas in the Baltic States at the farmhouse “Ķirpji” in the Vāne rural municipality.
The farm “Ruģeļi” in the area of Smārde invites the guests to meet and learn about horses. Currently, there are 4 full-sized horses and one pony, as well as a Peruvian miniature pig, swamp beavers, and rabbits. You can also visit the stud farm “Ivetas zirgi”in the area of Valdeķi.
The stud farm “Skudru staļļi” in Džūkste invites the guests for a visit to the stable in order to learn about horses and their life, habits, horse gear, and the day-to-day life of a stable. Here, you will have a chance to see 10 horses and the most lavish chariots, carriages, and sleighs.
At the country house “Meņģeļi” in the rural municipality of Sēme, Charolais meat cattle is reared and the guests can treat the cows some apples and pine branches. Those, who are machinery enthusiasts, will have a chance of learning about agricultural machinery and sit in a tractor.
But if you are in the area of Milzkalns, then you can visit the wicker worker Pēteris Tutāns to check out various domesticated birds — chicken, ducks, geese, turkeys and even ostriches.
At the deer garden “Rudiņi” you can learn about rearing wild animals — elk, fallow-deer and moufflons in enclosed areas, by visiting, observing and photographing the animals. A visit to the snail farm “Kangari” will be rather interesting, as you can learn here how to tell the snail’s gender, what they eat and what they do during the wintertime, and perhaps even taste the snails. If you want to see nearly all domestic animals in one place, you can do it by visiting the country home “Indāni” in the area of Kandava.
Milk and honey
If you want to learn, how milk is made, then you should visit the biological farm “Geidas”, which will tell the travellers about “the milky way” — how and where milk is formed, how you can make sour cream, butter, quark out of milk. Furthermore, the biological farm “Rogas” in Jaunpils are tending dairy cattle and making cheese, butter, quark, as well as colostrum products. Visitors can also participate in making various products.
The farm “Mauri” is dedicated to work with bees and the owners are offering the guests to learn about the beekeeper’s work, and taste honey and ambrosia. Visiting the bee sanatorium is a special activity - the bee sanatorium is a beehive, where people are treated with the beehive air.
Not far from the Rideļi Mill, the apiarist Māris welcomes grown-ups and children alike to get to know the busy life of bees and invites to visit the Bee House.
Healthy Snacks: Sea Buckthorn and Other Berries
The sea buckthorn is a speciality of the Tukums area. Nearby Tukums, is the company “Satori Alfa”, which produces sea buckthorn nectar and offers a tour of the sea buckthorn garden, along with a story of the good qualities and the positive impact that the berries have on your body, as well as offers to taste a sea buckthorn cocktail.
Besides sea buckthorn, the area of Tukums has cultivators of many other berries as well. Thus, the biological farm “Gaiķi” in Ozolnieki is cultivating a vast variety of berries and vegetables and is making various healthy products using the cultivated produce. The farm “Sarmas” in the area of Slampe and the biological farm “Rogas” in the area of Zante are cultivating sea buckthorn, blackcurrant, raspberries, cherries, redcurrant, and strawberries. In the Zentene rural municipality farm “Jaunlagzdiņi”, 13 different types of red raspberries are cultivated. Likewise, summer and autumn raspberries, as well as strawberries are cultivated at the biological farm “Ošenieki” in the rural municipality of Zemīte.
The vastest gardens of the largest berry — the pumpkin — can be found in the vicinity of Pūre, at the farm “Kliblapsas”. Pumpkins are cultivated here in an area of about 30 ha, and it is currently one of the largest cultivators of this sun berry in Latvia. There are approximately 40 different varieties of pumpkins grown here, and they can be divided into 7 groups: butter, nutmeg, spaghetti, acorn, nut, and others. Each variety is different not only in its appearance, but also in its flavour, and you can experiment with various recipes, for example, eat fresh, boiled, or fried, until you find the flavour you like best. If you visit this farm in August–October during the pumpkin harvest, you can see how different pumpkins can be and how they grow.
Apple Orchards and Fruit Tree Seedlings
Since a long time ago, many associate the area of Tukums with apple orchards. The farm “Gulbji” in Pūre is specialised in cultivating fruit-trees, berry bushes, strawberry seedings and berries. You can learn about the products and also buy them on the side of the Riga-Ventspils highway next to the Pūre Church.
You can enjoy the opportunity to walk through apple orchards, taste and buy apples at the farm “Eglāji” in the area of Rauda; it has been named the most beautiful apple orchard of Latvia. It is situated on a hilltop, from which you can see the sea and ships on a clear day. Likewise, you can visit orchards and taste apples at the farm “Rūķīši”, which is located on the way to Tukums next to the Riga-Ventspils highway, as well as when you go in the direction of Jaunpils.
Decorative Bushes and Flowers
The farm “Hederas” in the suburbs of Tukums is cultivating decorative plants. For 15 years now, various thuja, juniper, decorative spruce, false cypress, decorative bushes, as well as perennial plants are cultivated.
Meanwhile, the farm “Kurciņi” are dealing with cultivating lawns for yards and gardens, pitches and competition grounds. Here, you can order various tree seedlings and even Christmas trees.
Flowers and Decorative Gardens
The decorative garden of Dace Lukševica in Tukums is special with its collection of hosts, whereas the farm “Stuči” in the rural municipality of Slampe is dealing with cultivating flower seedlings. Here you can tour the farm and learn about tending and cultivating various flowers.
Meanwhile, “Īrisu dārzs” of Laimonis Zaķisin the area of Kandava is a kingdom of bulbous flowers, as the number of bulbous flower species here now exceeds several hundreds. During the blooming time, open door days are organised here. At the garden of Miss Inta Seredjuka in the rural municipality of Vāne, about 300 types of dahlias are growing and blooming, but at the garden of Miss Jautrīte Ozola roses in large greenhouses have been cultivated for many years now. But the biggest collection of roses can be found at the rose nursery “Rozītes” in the rural municipality of Sēme.
The news of the area — the magnolia garden of Ligita Čukure in Engure created as a landscape garden with interesting scenes from various viewpoints. More than 10 varieties of magnolias grow among various exotic plant species, and guests can also enjoy a small collection of peonies, a beautiful selection of English roses, as well as other interesting plants.
An Unusual Farm
You can make your trip unusual by visiting the biohumus production plant “Roguļi”. This farm is the largest and most modern biohumus production plant or the earthworm plant in the Baltic States, and it cultivates earthworms and earthworm compost or biohumus, which is a high-quality organic fertilizer with outstanding features, and it is much more effective than traditional organic fertilizers. The end product contains an excellent versatility of necessary microorganisms, owing thanks to millions of earthworks, who take direct part in the production process. During the visit to the plant, the owners proudly explain the process of biohumus production, as well as the unique properties of the product. An unusual farm offering unusual experience!
Vineyard and Wines
Near Tukums, there is a farm “Mazburkas”. The landscape here is beautiful and hilly, and the owners of the farm have taken advantage of the Southern slope by setting up vast vineyards. Possibly, this is one of the largest vineyards in these latitudes, and there are ~60 different varieties of grapes cultivated here. They make excellent wines from these grapes, and they have received prestigious, incl. international awards.
Here, the visitors can go on tours around the vineyard, and it can include home-made wine tasting on the vast terrace overlooking the beautiful hillocks of Kurzeme. You can also buy grapes here or go to the vineyard to pick grapes yourself. The scenery is diversified by the nearby sheep pen, which is the other specialisation of the farm.
The winery “Tēviņi”is located in the area of Zemīte, on high grounds, from which a beautiful scenery opens up. Here, wine is made from fruits and berries picked in the garden and in the wild. A special product is “Sparkling raspberry wine”, which is made of organically cultivated autumn raspberries, using a traditional method, as well as Latvadoss — a special apple brandy. At the winery, the guests can visit the wine cellar and listen to a story, as well as enjoy wine and snacks in a cosy ambience of the wine room or the garden terrace. The abstainers and children can enjoy fruit and berry juices. During the summer season, the visitors can go on a tour in the garden. But during the harvest season, the guests will have a chance to enjoy berries. If you make arrangements in advance, the owner will light the garden pan, where you can warm up a meal you have taken along and enjoy it with “Tēviņi” wine.
In the area of Tume, the eco-farm “Kaspari” is cultivating various berries — strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackcurrant, quince, chokeberry, gooseberries, which are used to make home wine. The owners will offer wine tasting in the centre of Tume. The locals prefer cherry, apple, and crab apple wine.
For more than 10 years now, the family of “Valguma mežvīns” owners have been specialised in cultivating strawberries and raspberries, and now they also manage more than 72 hectares of forest, where they get the raw material for their fermented drinks. The family business produces five different types of dessert wines: strawberry, blackcurrant-blueberry, cherry, raspberry, and raspberry-blueberry wines. During the visit, you can taste all types of wine, get an insight into the nuances of wine-making, as well as learn about the winemaking trends in Latvia
Even though the owners of the largest winery of Latvia Abavas have been caring and nurturing their vineyard in Sabile and have welcomed guests only on site, now all those interested will we awaited by pleasant changes. The owners at the Abava winery, which is situated only a few kilometres from Tukums, have opened a new wine cellar and wine bar. Visitors will have a chance to not only taste all the currently available drinks, but also purchase them to take home. Wine tasting and a peek into the Abava wine world includes the tasting of 5 drinks. You can choose one of three tasting programmes: dry drinks, sweet drinks, strong drinks. The duration of the visit depends on the number of guests, so do not hesitate to give a call and ask.
Relaxing in the Countryside
If you simply want to relax in the countryside, then you can do it at the farm “Avotiņi” in Strutele, where you can fish in fish ponds, visit cattle, and participate in the farm works, go picking berries and mushrooms in the nearby forest, as well as take long walks. The country house “Indāni” also offers a longer stay and getting to know farm animals and treats.
Fish and Life by the Water
Fishermen’s Life and Coastal Fishing
The farm of Iveta and Oskars Celkarts - fishermans homestead “Dieniņas” in Bērzciems is trying to preserve the lifestyle and traditions developed over many centuries. The owners have been engaged in the fishing business already for three generations, but tourist groups, students, families, wedding parties, and people celebrating various events are offered to enjoy active recreation on the beach including various activities on the shore, stories of fishermen’s wives about history and a theatre performance in the local dialect, an insight into the fish smoking process, and, naturally, a meal with a proper tasting of local fish. The fish are made according to old local recipes. All the passers-by can stop at the fishing farm “Dieniņas” to buy smoked local fish.
The youth accommodation-hostel “Pludmalis” in Ķesterciems is owned by the Raginskis family, offering tourists an opportunity to take part in fishing and then smoke the catch. If you stay longer, the owner can show you around and tell you not only about the lifestyle of fishermen back then and now, but also about the history of Ķesterciems and, of course, fishing techniques, fish species and processing methods, and will offer fish tasting.
“Mauriņi - S” the farm in Ragaciems also offers fish tasting. The coastal fisherman’s family will receive groups of up to 25 people from May till September.
The family company “Reinis B”, managed by the owner Alla Bečere and her sons, produce and sell hot-smoked fish. A new, modern production unit was constructed in 2014, where behind glazed windows you can observe the technological process of production. Travellers are offered to taste the produced fish and watch a video documenting the process. The specialty are salmon skewers, salmon roses, salmon sushi, trout with cheese, trout with garlic.
Fish Shop IK „Stubiņš”
The fish shop “Stubiņš” is located in Klapkalnciems — yet another fishermen’s village on the coast in the area of Tukums. The owners here offer buying smoked and fresh carps, plaice, mackerel, and cod. It depends on the time when you arrive here, but the best time for a visit and buying fish is the summer season — from May till October.
Fish Shop “Jurita B”
This small fish shop is situated in Lapmežciems. At the summer kiosk owned by the company, located near the production building, the buyers are offered the broadest variety of hot-smoked fish — herring, plaice, eelpout, perch, halibut, carps, trout, etc. Most popular among the buyers are hot-smoked carps and trout. If you make arrangements in advance, the company offers observing the smoking process and enjoy tasting. Former guests have claimed that the carps and trout are delicious here
Fish Market in Ragaciems
The fish market in Ragaciems is well known throughout Latvia; here you can purchase fish caught in the Gulf Riga, the Baltic Sea and Elsewhere. You can by also tasty bread and honey, as well as fruits and vegetables from nearby and faraway farms. The market is usually open from all day from 10:00 until 19:00.
Market in Engure
In Engure, the local market was introduced only recently. Located next to the Engure Lutheran Church, besides offering various countryside goods, it also has fish caught and smoked by the local coastal fishermen. The market is usually open from 10:00 untill 19:00
A Fish a Day
“Bermudas” Fish Restaurant is a family enterprise, which has been operating since 2005 and is located almost in the very centre of Ragaciems. The menu offers a vast selection of fish dishes, as well as meat dishes for those who are not too keen on fish. Don’t be frightened by the shark in the café’s logo! We welcome all guests and respect all wishes.
Engure Caféis only a year old, but has already become a popular place! It’s located an hour and a half away from Riga. Even though there are tables on the terrace, indoors, on the roof and in the nearby meadow, if you want to be sure there’s a place for you in the summertime, it’s best to book in advance.
According to the visitors, it boasts openness and a carefree atmosphere. The menu is simple and inspired by the local goods: various snacks and salads, grilled meat and several types of grilled fish, such as eelpout, trout, tench and flounder. You will also find burgers with meat and fish alike. To lovers of fish dishes, we suggest the Catch of the Day, which is different every season, or crumbed herring, sprat fritters or smelt.
The “Būda” Café’s daily menu includes fish caught both in the Baltic Sea and in the nearby Lake Engure. The café offers travellers (in groups of 10 to 40 people) to taste fish of the Baltic Sea, such as sprat, herring, flounder, cod and smelt, prepared in seven different ways. They range from traditionally smoked to covered in different types of crumb: fish chops, fish salads, crumbed fish, fish canapés, fish in marinade, fish meatballs and patties.
P.S. Make the arrangements in advance to visit farms and fishermens.