Cluj County Council (CCC) established Produs de Cluj Association (PCA) in 2010, alongside the Agro Transilvania Center and the Tudor Jarda Art School. The greatest support is given by the CCC, which finances and supports its work. The aim of the association is to promote the traditions, values and culture of the county.
Produs de Cluj Fairs are an opportunity to promote the folk tradition and culture. The main and most important support granted by the county administration, namely CCC, to small entrepreneurs, is the organization of exhibition events, the PCA having its own stands, so that the fairs are a unitary one.
With the facilities provided, craftsmen and farmers are encouraged to keep their traditions, presence at trade fairs, helping them to promote and sell their products, contributing to the economic growth of the local community. Also, CCC, through PCA, involves various non-governmental organizations and individuals in promoting tourism and agro-tourist potential, identifies development and promotion needs, especially those in the rural area.
There are an average of 12 major national exhibitions annually, but the association also participates in other local, regional, national and international events, to which it is a partner or guest.
The first trade fair organized by CCC through PCA took place in June 2011, in the county seat, with over 80 exhibited own events, to which are added almost 50 attendances at similar events, with role of co-organizer or partner.
The events organized by PCA bring together the Cluj producers of cold-pressed fruit and vegetables, beekeepers and small farmers selling cheese, pork products, jams and natural syrups, sweet ginger, chocolate and homemade cakes, all prepared after original, old recipes, kept with holiness from generation to generation.
There is no lack of wines, lavender and lavender products, bio cosmetics, popular costumes and accessories, hand-made jewelery, ceramics, wood carved articles or leather goods.
The success of organized fairs is ensured primarily by the quality and diversity of exhibits, but is also due to the fact that the partners of the association exhibit traditional products made in households and in their own workshops.
From the fair to… international fairs
Over the years, they have exhibited 150 small Cluj entrepreneurs on the stands of CCC – under the aegis of Produs de Cluj – especially family businesses – some of them succeeding in developing and creating successful business.
The most famous case, a product known today not only in the country, but also abroad, which has come to occupy the honorable position of a provider of the Royal House of Romania, is the Luna Solai brand, cold pressed oils from the Moon. Although they have a well-established distribution network, the business being in full swing, the owners continue to come to the Produs de Cluj fairs respecting the place where they had the opportunity to start the story of the oil trade.
A particular growth has been known for businesses based on lavender, honey and bee products. The owners of the Cluj apiary are appreciated all over the country and not only, the quality and diversity of the exhibited products being a serious business card.
Another specific feature of PCA events is that besides food and handicraft items, Produs de Cluj offer includes folklore shows from Someş area, popular games and songs, performances by well-known and loved artists. To encourage young performers, talented but poorly promoted voices, the visitor of the youngest generation of vocalists is visible, giving them the chance to get used to the stage and the audience.
Produs de Cluj caravan in the country
At the beginning of the activity, there were organized fairs in the cities of Cluj County, but since 2012 the brand has crossed the borders of the county and even of the country. The first exit from the county was in Bistrita as a test for the way in which the public in other counties responds to the Cluj County offer. Of course, the cities in the neighboring counties, Zalău, Baia Mare, Satu Mare, Oradea, Alba Iulia followed. Then Cluj product expanded to Deva, Mediaş, Sibiu, Timişoara, Suceava, Arad, Iaşi, Bucharest.
The success of the CCC project throughout the country, the reception and appreciations both from the local authorities or the private companies with which it collaborates, as well as the positive reactions from the visitor audience, have led the organization to expand and pass through the Carpathians, to Iasi and Suceava.
The first national fair of traditional products in the province
The most important fair, out of over 80 organized, was Produs de România, held in autumn 2018 in Cluj-Napoca and enrolled in the program of events dedicated to the Centenary of the Great Union.
Under the slogan “Cluj County Council unites Romania”, the largest fair of traditional products between Tisa, Dniester and Danube has gathered 200 exhibitors representing all the geographic and ethno-folkloric areas of Romania, including 10 producers and artisans from the Republic of Moldova. The folk performances also brought together the country, the artists who evolved on stage from all parts of Romania.
From Cluj, Berlin, London and Strasbourg
The year 2012 brought the first exits abroad, the debut being in Zakopane, in the Malopolska region of Poland. In August 2012, CCC and Produs de Cluj participated in the European Traditional Products Fair with 16 popular producers and craftsmen. The products of the Cluj people were in great demand, especially because there were cooks who prepared traditional snacks and traditional dishes from the county.
In the spring of 2013, CCC and PCA were represented in London at the International Food & Drink Event, which took place in the ExCel exhibition complex. The event, which was attended by food business operators, gave the Moldovans the opportunity to demonstrate that this area has enormous potential as well as the ability to supply tasty and quality food to the foreign markets.
The Autumn of 2013 was to find the CCC and the PCA in Strasbourg at the XXVth Congress of Congress of Local and Regional Powers of the Council of Europe, where they had the honor to mark the Cluj County Day. It was an opportunity to promote the values of traditional folk culture and to increase the visibility of CCC in Europe.
Starting with 015, CCC and Produs de Cluj are presenting themselves at the Grune Woche (Green Week) International Exhibition in Berlin, Europe’s most important agricultural and food fair.
“We are constantly trying to create a physical and spiritual connection between the present and the past, between modern and traditional, to develop the market that wants to revive tradition. In recent years, demand for authentic products is on the increase and we believe that market-based self-regulation mechanisms will work to stimulate fair trade and maintain traditional craftsmanship. The CCC events under the auspices of Produs de Cluj facilitate the formation of a network of partners through the active connection and support of the small producers and craftsmen “, the representatives of Produs de Cluj said.
(From the special edition of TB 86 – „ENJOY TRANSYLVANIA!” – May/June 2019)