Pétursey is a 274 metre high palagonite mountain, which is located east of Sólheimasandur in Mýrdalur. A few farms are located in the vicinity of the mountain, one of them being Vestri-Pétursey, where Bergur Elíasson and Hrönn Lárusdóttir live. They have cultivated carrots for over twenty years, beginning on a small scale but the cultivation has grown with each year. “We also used to cultivate potatoes but ceased that and turned completely to carrots. The soils is very well-suited for growing carrots, it is sandy and nutritious. Our carrots are very savoury, even though they are not all pretty in shape. The explanation for the shape is in small pebbles, which can be hidden in the soil, and these can affect the growth,” says Bergur Elíasson, the farmer at Vestri-Pétursey. Bergur and Hrönn also have cows on their farm, as well as a tourist service.
The lands of Pétursey were among those procured during the settling of Loðmundur the Old at Sólheimar. The land was for a long time known by the name Ey (Island) and the mountain was called Eyjan há (the High Island). For a long time there was a church located on the land, and it is likely that the mountain acquired the name Pétursey since the church was dedicated to Peter the Apostle. The lands of Pétursey have always been owned by framers and there have been many farms.
Bergur is raised at Vestri-Pétursey and has always had legal residence there. His family has lived on the land since 1806. Bergur and Hrönn took over the farm at Vestri-Pétursey in the year of 1987, but before that they had lived there along with Bergur’s brother and his wife.
The carrot cultivation is very demanding during spring and fall. Some years the harvest is good, but it can also fail if weather conditions have been poor. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010 ash was spread over all the gardens which resulted in almost no harvest that year. At that time, there was an average of 4 centimetres thick layer of ash over the gardens and when it rained the ash turned into a thick, concrete-like layer.
The couple get help from their family at sowing and unearthing during spring and fall. In a good year the harvest can reach 80 tonnes, but in a bad year it can be 10 tonnes, so the natural forces and weather conditions are crucial controlling factors.
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