The couple Kristján Gestsson and Anna Guðbergsdóttir cultivate potatoes at the farm Forsæti IV in the Flóahreppur district and have done so since 1970. However, potatoes have been cultivated on the estate for over half a century; Kristján’s parents, Gestur Mosdal Kristjánsson and Helga Kristín Þórarinsdóttir, began the cultivation around 1960. The horticultural farm has a good amount of equipment at its disposal, which enables the couple to attend to the production mostly by themselves.
The seed potatoes which are planted each year are partly home-grown, but according to rules, the potatoes’ good condition is maintained with a stock bought elsewhere. The seed potatoes are allowed to pre-sprout and are then transplanted outside at the end of April and until past the middle of May. The first potato grasses begin to emerge from the soil around two weeks after the seed potatoes have been planted. Then, both the farmer and consumers await the first harvest of the summer with anticipation, but it will reach the market around the middle of July. The potatoes that are first to reach the market have been cultivated under plastic to speed-up the growth, and accordingly the harvest itself, for about 15 days. Harvest for storage takes place at the end of August and throughout September. The harvest is very much conditioned by weather conditions and can therefore vary greatly from year to year. The cultivation area is 24 hectares and the harvest can range from 10 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
It is important that the potatoes which are harvested during fall are kept in a cold storage at the right temperature and level of humidity. Thus, the product can easily be kept fresh until the next harvest. The potatoes are stored uncleansed in the cold storage during winter, but they are rinsed and sorted before they are sent to the market.
The most popular varieties of potatoes are the Icelandic variants of white and red potatoes, subsequently making them the most cultivated potatoes. However, more variants are grown on the farm, for example Premiere and Milva.
Click on the pictures to enlarge and take a better look.