Time and time again, we have shown that we are able to help in different situations. And we were given another opportunity to do some good. This time around in April, Marcos Tavares, Amir Dervišević, Gregor Bajde, Andrej Kotnik, Luka Koblar and Žan Kolmanič joined forces in violet-clad solidarity to help the Savinja Valley hop-growers.
The Laško Union brewery organised a voluntary work operation on six farms in the Savinja Valley who currently lack seasonal workers due to the current conditions of COVID-19 pandemic. In two days (on 23 and 24 April), volunteers prepared hop gardens for the season in 1,250 hours. Under the watchful eye of hop-growers, the volunteers hoed the soil and arranged little strings that will be used as support for the hops in the months to come. In doing so, they made it possible for the hops (planted no later than 15 April) to be able to grow successfully during this season, and mature until the end of August or the end of September, depending on the variety.
More than 40 athletes participated in this two-day work operation: ten violet-clad members (6 players and 4 club representatives), players from RK Celje Pivovarna Laško, KK Zlatorog, the Ski Association of Slovenia (biathlon and ski jumpers), the Handball Federation of Slovenia, the Basketball Federation of Slovenia, and the Slovenian Olympic Committee.
Janez Oset, the President of the Hop Growers Association of Slovenia, noted in his thank-you speech: “Every year, approximately 800 foreign seasonal workers help us prepare our hop gardens for the season. This year, such an operation was impossible due to extraordinary circumstances. In the name of all hop-growers, I would like to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who helped us in this crisis. I believe that we can save this year’s season of the Slovenian green gold together.”
In Slovenia, hop-growing is an extremely important economic activity. Even though its 1,500 hectares only represent about one percent of all hop gardens in the world (170,000 hectares), Slovenia is the fifth most important hop-growing country in the world, with its 121 large hop-growing family estates.