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Swedes face up to Midsummer berry crisis

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Swedes face up to Midsummer berry crisis
08:30 CEST+02:00
The hunt for the Swedish strawberry could prove elusive this Midsummer holiday weekend with supplies a reported 14 days late due to the long cool spring.

"Those wanting Swedish berries on Midsummer's Eve will have to set their alarm clocks early and hurry down to the town square, because stocks will be exhausted fast," said horticultural consultant Magnus Engstedt.

In his work Engstedt travels the length and breadth of the country and has inspected the state of strawberry stocks out in the Swedish fields, a journey which has confirmed that prospects are not good.

Growers are usually able to cultivate their crops so that they ripen in time for Midsummer by choosing varieties and bed protection in order to ensure warmth, but the long cold spring has delayed the maturing process and nothing has helped to speed things up.

"It is close to being a catastrophe. The comfort is that there will be large supplies of strawberries towards the latter part of the summer," said Mats Olsson at berry farm Lönnslätts Bär outside of Malmö.

The low supplies will also impact on the price of the strawberries with a litre of the precious Swedish homegrown running at around 50-80 kronor ($6.5-10.5).

While desserts of alternative origin may need to be employed to complete the picture of the ideal celebrations, the weather is set to ensure a festive Midsummer in the open air.

A high-pressure front sweeping in over Sweden this week looks set to provide temperatures in the 20s in most parts of the country, with dry and sunny weather over the early parts of the weekend at least.

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