A spring heat wave has been a boon to Swedish strawberry farmers. The season’s first berries will be harvested soon and there should be a bumper crop of the sweet and juicy delights this summer.
The first arrival of strawberries is coming later than usual this year, but the harvest is now in full swing, Magnus Engstedt of the berry growers’ association Bärfrämjandet said.
“We have had an unusually long warm period, in contrast to last summer when the flowers froze and the crops never really recovered. That is not at all the picture we are seeing this year. We have no frost damage and really nice development [although] perhaps a bit too warm,” Engstedt said.
Engstedt said that greenhouse-grown strawberries should be available in southern Sweden next week, while the week after that should see the first arrival of open-air strawberries.
“There will be plenty of strawberries. There will certainly be large quantities for Midsummer, in any case,” he said, adding that there should be no need to import strawberries this summer.
Strawberries are considered an integral part of Sweden’s Midsummer celebrations, most importantly as a garnish for traditional strawberry cream cakes. The berries' role is so large that previous shortages have been characterized as “a disaster for the Swedish people.”
Beyond the Midsummer celebrations, strawberries are one of the most popular fruits in Sweden and play a role in numerous Swedish desserts. Swedes believe the cold climate and the long summer days pack in extra sweetness and flavour and the first annual strawberry auction is often treated as a signal that summer is finally under way.