Come stay at our small organic herb farm near Plovdiv, Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria
  • Favourited 433 times
  • Last activity: 30 Nov 2023



 Min stay requested: No minimum



  • Description


    Some years ago we settled in a beautiful village in the Rose Valley at the foot of the Sredna Gora range in Central Bulgaria (50 km from Plovdiv), where we are running our small organic farm and produce herbal teas, tinctures, and other herbal products. When we bought the deserted house, it was completely overgrown and needed a total renovation. Now we have completed the majority of repair work and turned our attention to our lands, which is divided over 3 nearby fields and our garden where we grow different herbs such as lavender, chamomile, echinacea, California poppy, mint species, and many others.

    We are Laura, an ethnobotanist, Andreas, a journalist and translator, and our little daughter Maxine (January 2020). Originally from the Netherlands and Germany but we have made Bulgaria our new home. We care about environmental and social justice and try to implement a more sustainable lifestyle, although we strive to move away from dogma and towards a better understanding of life in all its diversity and complexity. While we have our hands pretty full with work in and around the house and lands, in our free time we like to explore the lesser-known parts of Bulgaria and the surrounding countries.

    We grow vegetables and fruits in our garden and love cooking, baking bread, making preserves, herbal syrups, herbal teas, and spice mixtures. Laura has many years of experience with herbs and has a lot of knowledge to share about them. The herbs we use are grown on our farm and collected from our ‘wild’ surroundings, and there are plenty of wild edibles growing here too.

    We welcome kind and fun spirits of all backgrounds and interests, but our place probably best suits proactive people with a keen interest in plants and/or herbs, or who want to start their own smallholding, or consider living in a remote village. It is also important for us that you like to positively interact with our daughter. Couples, small families, or two friends are very welcome. Solo travellers are also welcome of course! But, frequently we need to tend to jobs or our daughter, and cannot always be available to go to places together. So, it is probably best if you are fine with spending time by yourself. Sometimes we try to accommodate more Workaway guests if there is enough accommodation free, for example, if some come in their own van or like to sleep in a tent.

    Our small farm is situated at the edge of a beautiful and somewhat dilapidated village, set in the middle of hills and mountains (the highest top is about 1230m). It is quaint and friendly, with many little streets to explore. In our village square you can find a small shop selling essentials and drinks, there is also a little bar, a post office, and a bus stop. For anything more substantial the nearest larger village is about 15 km away. We are the last village for about 40 km (in one direction), so there is plenty of free space for hikes and just to clear your mind.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We will be happy to share our knowledge about self-sufficiency, plants and wildlife in our biodiverse region and Bulgaria in general. We are also happy to talk about the process of making a move to a remote place, renovating an old house and setting up a small farm. Volunteers can experience how it is living in a remote village and at the same time explore Plovdiv with its interesting cultural heritage (European Capital of Culture 2019).

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    Last year (2022) we built a little off-grid wooden cabin, which is a second volunteer accommodation. We are looking for a hand to finish the interior so it can be used this growing season. We have also just constructed two additional rooms in our house and might still be looking for a hand in the early spring of 2023 (putting wooden flooring and a wooden ceiling, painting the walls, and outside insulation and wooden cladding).

    Generally, our busiest times of year are from mid-April to mid-July. During that time we really appreciate help with preparing for the growing season (preparing beds, sowing, making cuttings, planting, etc.) and especially staying on top of weeds, as well as general gardening and maintenance work.

    The main period of herb (wild) harvesting is from mid-May to July. During that time we will gather herbs from the surrounding fields and forests, prepare them, and fill up the dryer. Once the herbs are dry they will be garbled and stored away until the tea mixtures are prepared at the end of the harvest season. Maintenance of the herb field and garden will also still be ongoing. There is generally a lot of weeding :-)

    In August the work dies down a bit because it often gets too hot and it's mainly irrigation and making preserves then. It is rare that we take people in August but drop us an email if you like, there may be an opportunity for a house sit.

    From September to early November, the work mainly involves processing harvest, clearing land, and preparing for the next growing season, as well as some other maintenance.

    Write to us if you like to know about what we are currently doing/planning.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    Bulgarian: Fluent
    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    Russian: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Volunteers can stay in a small cordwood cabin, a type of ecological building using pieces of wood, coloured bottles, and mortar. The cabin is situated in our garden and equipped with a double bed, electricity, internet and a simple kitchen area with a small fridge. Unfortunately, there is no running water in the cabin but we have a large canister there (you can wash the dishes in our house). If there are two friends coming, we can also add an extra bed but it will be cozy. The bathroom is in the main house and easily accessible from the garden.

    You can also camp in our garden or in one of the fields if you like, and we can provide a large tent where you can stand, a mattress, blankets, pillows, and electricity (if you are close to the house).

    If you come in your own campervan, we have one spot just outside the garden where you can park, which is the only large spot that's flat. There is a water connection there too should you need it.

    After working together outside, we ourselves have several jobs to do in our home office (not always but frequently), which we usually do in the afternoon, and we need some quiet time then. In the evenings we will often retreat with our daughter and have some time to ourselves.

    We usually take our main meals at breakfast and dinner. Lunch is DIY (do it yourself) using the products available or leftovers from dinner. On your days off we won't be eating together but you can use our produce and anything in the fridge, and cook your own meals in the cordwood cabin. Usually, we have a walk-in breakfast between 8 and 9 am but you can also prepare your own breakfast if you prefer, and we can discuss any kinds of cooking arrangements to make things suit all of us :-)

    What to expect:
    We’ve hosted quite a few volunteers throughout the years and noticed that there might be some things useful for you to know before you decide to come:

    Farm work can be pretty hard on the body (and mind), especially when you aren’t used to it. Harvesting and preparing herbs is laborious and can be repetitive (we prefer to call it meditative), although we always make sure there is variation in tasks. We do assume that people who come to us willingly engage in this kind of work. We often host people with no (practical) experience and really enjoy talking about the why’s and hows of herbs and herb farming, we offer a good space to learn, but please follow our guidance related to some of the tasks.

    The environmental conditions vary of course but it is often hot and sunny. We work on the field when our daughter is in kindergarten, which is when we have our hands free, so we don’t consider temperatures up to around 30 degrees too hot to work outside. Please bear this in mind if you are sensitive to heat/sun. We’ve had volunteers struggling with this, but unfortunately, we aren’t always able to switch hours to the cooler part of the day because certain tasks need to be done at certain moments. We work in the morning and usually to about 1 pm, so never in the heat of the day. Bring sun protection :-)

    We love insects, and we feel lucky that we still have so many of them around us. In fact, we’ll start to document the local insect variety from this year (2023). If you have a strong dislike of insects, our place might not be the right one. We don't use insect repellent when harvesting and preparing for the dryer to avoid contamination.

    We usually work together for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week (from around 9 to 1 pm), but I put 5x5 hours in the profile because we set aside up to one hour just to help with food preparation, laying the table, clearing up, or if there is something urgent we could use a hand with. We really appreciate it if you think along with us and be proactive. For example, if we are not at home and it starts to rain, take in the laundry, or let us know when certain foods or water are running low, etc. :-)

    Another thing that might be important to know.. We are very flexible people and we truly enjoy learning about new recipes and ways of cooking. We can accommodate different diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, etc. However, if you are very specific about your diet, you are welcome to take a lead in the kitchen. We aim to provide healthy, well-rounded meals and often ask volunteers if there is anything they need foodwise. Our house and garden/fields are well-stocked, but we are not in the position to provide alcohol (other than the occasional at dinner), and also specialty plant-based substitute products or very specific whole foods. If you need any of these products, we’ll be happy to bring them from the city at your own cost.

    Our village is quite isolated and there is no ATM here, and the village shop doesn’t take card payments. For smokers, the nearest opportunity to buy tobacco or withdraw cash is about 15 km away.

    You can rely on us to answer your request within 2-3 days. Please also reply to us within 3 days (unless you indicate that you have limited internet access, of course), it is hard for us to plan and reply to other potential volunteers if we don't know if we will hear back from you. That’s why we’ll assume that you aren’t coming if we don’t hear back after 3 days. Thanks a lot for understanding, let’s keep the volunteering/hosting experience positive! :-)

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are an hour’s drive away from Plovdiv and there are three busses a day going to and from the city. More bus connections are available from a larger village nearby and we can take you/pick you up.

    There is plenty of space to go for nice hikes, for example, to the Bratan Peak (1230 m). Several places of worship dated to the Thracian time have been discovered in our area; there is a Thracian sanctuary nearby, a sun gate, several monoliths, etc. There is also one of the very few remaining “revival style” villages about 10 km away over the road or a nice long hike through the hinterland. The peaks of the Balkan Range are also within reach for day-trips if you have a car. We have two (old) bikes available but I wouldn't recommend taking them for a long adventure :-)

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have fiber optic internet in our village, but sometimes during heavy rain or storm, we have power cuts or the server stops responding.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Our place is situated on a slope, but there is one spot just outside the garden where you can put your campervan. There is also a water connection there. The bathroom in the main house is easily accessible.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 773948797714

Feedback (15)


These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Little garden paradise close to the sea in Varna, Bulgaria
Join me and help with carrying out a self-sufficient lifestyle while exploring unique places in Bulgaria