Astri Kooij is the horticultural farmer at Jarðarberjaland (Land of Strawberries) in Reykholt and she does not have to look far back to find how she acquired her green fingers. Both her father and grandfather were horticultural farmers in The Netherlands and she says that horticulture is in their blood. “There was no other option than to become a horticultural farmer” says Astrid, who runs the horticultural facility along with her partner Ehud Kafri.
It might be said that it was a coincidence that she is now a horticultural farmer at Jarðarberjaland. “My dad had some business with producers in the United States because of the cultivation. One time, when he was making preparations for a flight to Baltimore where he was supposed to meet a client, he came across a favourably priced flight with an Icelandic airline called Flugleiðir. He decided to make a stop in Iceland and found out that Iceland is an excellent place for growing indoor plants that needed to be kept in cold greenhouses,” says Astrid.
The greenhouse stood vacant for a while, but in 2011 Astrid took charge of it. “I had been to Iceland previously and am very happy here, which led to my taking over the greenhouse and utilising it to cultivate strawberries”.
At Jarðarberjaland they use growth enhancing lighting during cultivation. The first harvest is available by the end of March and the last one in December. The cultivation at Jarðarberjaland is ecological and Astrid claims that the berries are plucked straight from the plants and into plastic boxes.
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