The surface area of agricultural land around Remetea is 8,332 hectares, consisting of 2,377 hectares of arable land, 3,423 hectares of hayfields and 2,532 of grazing pasture. The soil that is characteristic of this basin is of poor quality; in addition, freezing weather occurs early in autumn and late into the spring, and the river Mureș floods frequently, so vegetable cultivation is not profitable. A description from the nineteenth century says that, “Years of rich harvests would be qualified in other places as years of hardship”. On the other hand, because of the geographical location and characteristics of the environment, Remetea is a very good place for stock-breeding, notably for alpine breeds of cattle. Since the beginning of the 20th century, breeders have tried at various times to raise Simmental cattle alongside the local Transylvanian breed.
Another source of income for local people has been forestry and logging. A national meeting in 1606 mentioned that the best quality timber products from Transylvania are the wooden planking and beams from the Gheorgheni area. Logs from trees falling in autumn were kept on the banks of the river Mureș during the winter, where they were bound together to form rafts, and were then floated downstream to Târgu-Mureș, Alba-Iulia and even Arad in springtime, when the water level was high due to the melting of the snow and the spring rainfall.
The lumber was usually bought by German and Armenian merchants. For hundreds of years, Remetea was the centre of logging in this region. Timber was a profitable trade, but was dangerous. There were many accidents along the way, and the route was also rendered difficult due to the customs officers, merchants and landlords who took advantage of the loggers. Despite this, in 1820, more income was earned from the lumber trade than from agriculture. However, deforestation in the area and railway construction in the twentieth century led to the demise of logging as a way of life.
Even up to the present day, the principal source of income for Remetea’s inhabitants remains stockbreeding, forestry and timber-related crafts. There are seven joiner’s workshops in the village. Some make furniture, while others produce commodities for building. In addition to these occupations, there are people working in the foodstuff industry, education, healthcare, or in other services that the population needs.
THE END-IBO ORGANIC, HOME-RECIPE CHOCOLATE FACTORY One of the most-successful foodstuff enterprises in Remetea is the END-IBO organic, home-recipe chocolate factory, which started-up in January 2000. Their anchor products are the homerecipe chocolate, gingerbread and coconut meringues, which are sold in 22 counties of Romania. The factory employs 48 people, and produces 60,000 kilos of chocolate every month.
THE POWDERED-MILK FACTORY Work on building the powdered-milk factory in Remetea started in autumn 1953. The worksite was directed by Russian engineers, and the first installations in the factory were brought from the Soviet Union, too. Historian Dr. Dezső Garda described the factory opening day, on October 23rd 1954. That day, the first quantity of powdered milk having been produced industrially, not only in Romania but also anywhere in Eastern Europe, was made here. The quantities of powdered milk manufactured increased over time. In 1973, the annual production was 2,430 tonnes. In addition to milk powder, the factory was also making butter, ice-cream, cheese and home-recipe chocolate. By 1979, the 192 workers at the factory were outputting 54 different products. After the change of regime in 1990, the factory decided to specialise in powdered milk for babies. In July 1997, the first Romanian milk powder for babies was launched called Lactovit and was produced with Danish technology. In 1998, the factory started production on an industrial scale. By 2003, the annual yield of Lactovit was between 1,500 and 1,700 tonnes, with 800 to 1,000 tonnes of another type of powdered milk being made as well. The necessary milk was collected from 25 locations in Harghita county and delivered to the factory in Remetea, where 326 workers processed it. By 2011, the factory was severely indebted to the point of bankruptcy, and in 2012 it went into liquidation. The various buildings that compose the factory were built in the communist style of the fifties. At the moment, the factory cannot be visited.