Monika and Fri­rik

Monika and Fri­rik

Friðrik Rúnar Friðriksson is the largest manufacturer of broccoli in Iceland. He began cultivating tomatoes at a young age with his grandfather, Ágúst Eiríksson, at the horticultural facility Ártún, by Selfoss. At Ártún, Ágúst was the first man to begin cultivating tomatoes solely in pumice, which was transported straight from the volcano Hekla. There, he also cultivated broccoli and white cabbage outdoors. Friðrik Rúnar acceded to the management of the facility in 1987 and ran it until 2002, when the operation came to an end due to the great earthquake of 2000.

Friðrik Rúnar then acceded to chief operating officer for Georg Ottóson at the horticultural facility Jörfi at Flúðir. There, Georg and Friðrik work closely together and grow a varied selection of vegetables, both outdoors and in greenhouses.

At Flúðir, Friðrik also met his wife, Monika Domagala, and together they cultivate broccoli on the banks of the river Hvítá. They try to use as ecological a fertiliser as possible; they have managed to reduce artificial fertiliser about 35% and instead they use fungal mass from Flúðasveppir. Fungal mass is a fertile soil in which mushrooms grow and it is used instead of store-bought fertiliser. About 150 tonnes of fungal mass are used yearly on 3 ½ hectares of land where the broccoli is cultivated. Water from the river Hvítá is used for irrigating if rain alone is not sufficient; they use powerful tractor pumps for the irrigation.

During the harvesting period around 10 people work at unearthing the 30 tonnes of broccoli that are harvested during the summer. This is by far the largest harvest of broccoli in the whole of Iceland. The broccoli is still unearthed by hand, even though a conveyor belt is used to get it onto a cart and a large tractor transports the harvest from the fields. Friðrik says that few vegetables are healthier or better than broccoli and that it is really very simple to use it to make soup; you only have to pour cream over it and season lightly with salt and heat the whole thing in a pot. Evidently, this is the most popular soup in the extended area near Flúðir.

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