The couple Einar Pálsson and Kristjana Jónsdóttir live at Sólbyrgi at Kleppjárnsreykir in Borgarfjörður. They moved there from Vestmannaeyjar in 2008, when they bought the horticultural facility. Einar was a fisherman in Vestmannaeyjar, but he had long dreamed of living in the country. The couple’s aim was to enter into traditional farming and they sought for a regular farmland for a long time. However, once they were offered to buy Sólbyrgi they decided to become horticultural famers. The location charmed them and the facility, which is located on about 10 hectares of land, is well situated and a short way for the kids to go to school.
Einar graduated from Garðyrkjuskólinn (The School of Horticulture) a short while after the couple moved to Sólbyrgi. When he took charge of its running, carrots were almost the sole vegetable in cultivation at the facility. He used his knowledge of cultivation and began a great reconstruction and changed the facility in accordance with the most up-to-date demands of warm cultivation. Today, the cultivation at Sólbyrgi is mainly focused on strawberries, but they also cultivate cherry tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, in addition to practising some outside cultivation.
The strawberry cultivation at Sólbyrgi began with vigour in 2013. Einar says that the conditions for growing strawberries are very good and he credits the water, which he claims is far better than anything known to cultivators abroad. He also assigns the especially savoury taste of the Icelandic strawberries to the water. The houses are heated with geothermal heat, honeybees pollinate the plants and organic defences are used. Einar believes that Icelandic horticulture has become the most environmentally friendly in the world, because it does not leave behind any carbon footprints; they have become quite a few once vegetables and berries have arrived to Iceland from more southern countries.
The strawberries at Sólbyrgi are picked straight into the boxes and the farmers place great emphasis on maintaining strict hygiene and use gloves during picking. The strawberries are delivered to the market only a few hours after having been gathered.
In one cup of strawberries are about 50 calories and they are rich in vitamin C. The berries can be stored for 5-7 days and their optimum temperature is 4-8 °C; it is ideal to freeze strawberries.
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