Swedish strawberry bliss to sweeten Midsummer

Despite the long, cold winter, strawberry growers in Sweden have announced that this year's harvest has survived and will be ready to be gobbled down in line with Swede's dessert-table traditions at Midsummer.

Swedish strawberry bliss to sweeten Midsummer

“We’re going to have the strawberries ready for midsummer!” Calle Ericsson, chairman of the nation’s berry growers, announced in a statement.

“The growers’ efforts to cover the plants with double weaving together with last week’s warmth have done wonders for strawberry conditions.”

Strawberries are grown in Sweden on roughly 2,500 hectares of land, an area corresponding with about 3,500 football fields. An annual haul yields around 30 million litres of the berry, and Swedes welcome the summer treat with open arms.

In fact, 73 percent of Swedish people prefer the taste of strawberries grown in Sweden to those imported from abroad, according to a May survey by pollsters YouGov. Despite this, imported strawberry numbers continue to bloom, with a record 7,587 tonnes imported last year – around half from Belgium.

But the delicious treat is mostly grown outside rather than in controlled conditions, meaning the fruit is extremely susceptible to bad weather.

“Clear, cold June nights with strong frosts can ruin entire crops. We can manage a few degrees below zero with fibre cloths and irrigation, but if the temperatures are below -5C then the berries and flowers are destroyed,” Ericsson explained.

Swedish strawberries are usually available from May and up until October.

TT/The Local/og

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Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland