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First Swedish spring strawberries at auction

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First Swedish spring strawberries at auction
Swedish strawberries snapped in 2014. Photo: TT
11:25 CEST+02:00
Sweden's annual strawberry crop contest has a winner, with Lars Jacobsen from Skåne in southern Sweden the first to produce the fresh fruits in 2015.
The farmer has won the yearly competition for nine years in a row and his latest box of juicy offerings has been bought at auction for 894 kronor ($103).
 
This year's price was much higher than in 2014, when the fruits fetched 175 kronor a box ($20), although in 2013 the strawberries were sold for 750 kronor ($86) a punnet. 
 
"I was shocked," the farmer told local newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad, reacting to his 2015 winnings.
 
The difference in cost is believed to be because last year Jacobsen had almost 150 punnets available, while this year he only had seven.
 
"I'm a little late this year," the farmer told the paper.
 
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits in Sweden and Swedes believe they are the best in the world. The cold climate and the long summer days are believed to pack in extra sweetness and flavour. 
 
The berries play a role in numerous Swedish desserts and are sold at special stalls all over the country during the summer, and on strawberry farms where many families travel to pick their own each year.
 
Jacobsen grows his strawberries under glass in a greenhouse in Hjälmshult in Skåne, raising the temperature gradually from early February as he attempts to beat other producers to sell the first box.
 
While the auction took place on Monday, Jacobsen admitted to the news agency TT that he had already tasted a few of the fruits himself.
 
"I walk in the greenhouses, I cannot help it," he laughed.
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