The couple Páll Ólafsson and Heiðbjört Ólafsdóttir are horticultural farmers at Hveravellir in the district of Reykjar. Páll is raised at Hveravellir and together Páll and Heiðbjört acceded to the business from Páll’s parents, Ólafur Atlason and Alda Pálsdóttir, but the same family has run the business since its founding in 1904. Páll is the fourth generation that cultivates vegetables at Hveravellir. To begin with, potatoes were grown, but in 1933 the first greenhouse was built and thus began the cultivation of tomatoes on the location. Another greenhouse was built three years later and today the houses are 11 and cover around 7000 square metres. Today, the cultivation of tomatoes and cucumbers takes place throughout the year. In addition to cultivating tomatoes and cucumbers they also grow peppers and summer flowers; the latter are sold at the home in Hveravellir during spring and many people like to come and buy flowers and pick up some fresh vegetables at the same time.
Alda and Ólafur still work by their son and daughter-in-law’s side. During summers, Páll and Heiðbjört’s daughters – Alda, Anna Dís and Harpa Lind – have also worked in the greenhouses; therefore, it can truly be said that the family’s life revolves around horticulture. “The dinner conversations generally focus on tomatoes and cucumbers and what could have been done differently in the greenhouses during the day, but also on what went well, because the cultivation is a constant challenge from day to day,” says Páll.
They put their utmost care and effort into freshness and quality which translate to the consumer. The tomatoes are plucked three times a week, the peppers twice a week but the cucumbers are plucked twice each day, every day of the week. The tomatoes are sorted by colour and size, before being packaged into consumer packaging. Hveravellir has about 13 man-years. Geothermal heat is found at Hveravellir, as the name indicates (hver = hot spring), and the springs Ystihver and Uxahver are among the largest springs in the whole of Iceland. Ecological cultivation is practiced at Hveravellir and the greenhouses are heated with geothermal water.
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