Romsilva, the National Forestry Administration, is mainly in charge with protecting forests, assuring rational exploitation, and primary wood processing. The county of Bistrita-Nasaud has a special situation, because the National Administration has a single workshop making carriages and horse-drawn sleighs, opened in 2004. It initially was associated with the Beclean Horse Farm, which was set up in 1955, mainly as a stud farm. In 1985, the farm started to work on a new breed, the Romanian Semi-heavy, and in 1993 they started working on improving the Lipizzaner breed. Here is the only place in the world where they raise on a large scale Lipizzaner horses with black and chestnut coats.
In order to diversify their activities, tourists who visit the horse farm can now take advantage of a variety of activities, according to Doita Varna, veterinary with the farm:
“Starting in August, we offer riding lessons, horseback strolls, carriage rides, visits to the farm, riding lessons, horse-drawn sleigh rides in winter, with two or four horses. Riding lessons cost 36 lei, about 8 Euro, for half an hour, and 18 lei, about 4 Euro per person for carriage rides.”
Romsilva now produces over 30 models of sleighs and carriages. Last year they did market tests for a new model. Ivan Gheorghe, head of the Bistrita-Nasaud Forestry Directorate, told us about it:
“It is a fast food camper trailer, with everything you need. And orders were not late in coming. We have a lot of orders from Bucharest. Right after we launched the model, we got no less than ten orders from the capital. We also have orders from Brasov, we have orders from Sibiu. We can make about one and a half a month. So we make three trailers every two months, without neglecting everything else we do, of course.”
Food trailers appeared first in the US, with New York being the market leader, as trailers are the main competition to fast food places.
Even though things are slow in moving in Romania, Ivan Gheorghe assured us that Romsilva Bistrita-Nasaud already has 50 on order, most of them from Bucharest, where owners of street food businesses want to draw in as many customers as possible. Requirements for trailers vary quite a lot, Ivan Gheorghe told us:
“Some want to have a window on the side, others want to have a separate room for the staff. It was hard to find people who want to do something like that, and also have the necessary skills. Some of them are retirees, but we also found younger people. We could use more, but some of them, especially those who know how to make metal structures and have lathe and welding skills also work in maintenance for forestry equipment.”
We found out that the price for a carriage can be as high as that for an automobile. They are highly mobile, because they can be drawn by horse or automobile. They can be as long as 6 meters, as wide as 3 meters, and as high as 2.8 meters, are made of recyclable materials, with thermal insulation, and have everything that is needed to prepare and serve food right on the side of the street. Standard equipment consists of table tops, stainless steel sinks, tanks for fresh and residual water, an electric pump for water circulation, interior and exterior illumination, mostly LED, as well as outdoor tables.
Romsilva is also looking abroad for customers, and soon they will start making customized carriages for EU countries.
We went out on the streets of Bucharest to see for ourselves how often we could encounter fast food trailers. We found quite a few of them, but we could only find a couple of carriages. We found the Sausage Carriage in the Old Center, and another one on Unirii Boulevard, also selling sausages. However, we were told that this type of vehicle can easily be turned into a flower shop, a bookshop, a souvenir shop, a cafe, as well as a sweets shop.