Horticulture at Silfurtún began in the sixties. The facility’s owner, Örn Einarsson, was a pioneer in the cultivation of strawberries inside greenhouses. He also cultivated tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as having outside cultivation. The couple Eiríkur Ágústsson and Olga Lind Guðmundsdóttir bought Silfurtún in 2002 and carried on the cultivation that was already in process, including the cultivation of strawberries.
Eiríkur and Olga Lind have put a lot of effort and care into the strawberries’ cultivation and for ten years Silfurtún was the only horticultural facility that produced strawberries for the Icelandic market; only in the last two years more facilities have begun cultivating strawberries. The Silfurtún horticultural facility has grown and thrived in the last years and today strawberries are cultivated in a house that is approximately 4.000 square metres and tomatoes are grown in around 3.000 square metres.
It takes a lot of precision to grow strawberries because their cultivation is delicate. The cultivation is ecological, bees see to the pollination of the strawberry flowers and organic defences are used. Harvest lasts from May and until the end of October. The berries are picked straight into boxes and the employees are careful to uphold strict hygiene and use gloves while picking the berries. The berries are then delivered to stores on the same day. The Icelandic strawberries are especially sweet and savoury and people attribute this to the Icelandic water that is used during cultivation.
Strawberries are not actual berries, but rather the receptacle of the strawberry flower. The small particles that look like seeds are really the fruits of the strawberry; each one contains a small seed. Like blackberries and raspberries, strawberries are composite fruits.
Strawberries have been cultivated from time immemorial. They were a particular favourite of the Roman emperors and when the Spaniards came to America they discovered the strawberry cultivation of Native Americans. There the berries were small and grew wild in many places. French horticulturists managed to cultivate large strawberries early in the 18th century, by mixing the cultivation of European and Chilean berries. Strawberries grown wild in many places in Iceland, but they are small and often they do not reach full maturity.
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