Snapshots from Sweden: Strawberry Season
From June 5 to June 11, I visited Western and Southern Sweden on a trip sponsored by Visit Sweden, West Sweden Tourist Board, Skåne Tourist Board, and Volvo as part of their CAR + VACATION contest. Here's a look at something I ate during my trip.
As summer approaches in Sweden, so does Sweden's strawberry (jordgubbar) season, and thus the season of, "Eat As Many Swedish Strawberries As You Can." If you see a strawberry stand while driving around Sweden, you should stop there and buy some strawberries. Or do what we did: Drive past the strawberry stand, three seconds later think, "Oh wait, that was a strawberry stand, why the heck are we driving away from it?" and turn the car around.
Not that you have to stop by this particular strawberry stand (and not like I could tell you exactly where it is anyway—on a stretch of farmland somewhere between Ystad and Trelleborg). Drive around Southern Sweden during strawberry season—which lasts from about the end of May to August—and you'll pass stands selling Swedish strawberries. The stand we came across sold strawberries for 30 kr (about $4.70) per liter from Abraham Hill in Önnestad, along with strawberry jam, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. (The security camera-equipped stand was unmanned; good thing we had lots of change with us for the locked money box.) Although it was early in the season, the strawberries were quite sweet, which makes me wonder how good they'd be later in the season.
If you don't come across a stand off the road, you'll find plenty of Swedish strawberries in supermarkets. Right at the entrance of an ICA supermarket in Höör, I was faced with a stand displaying Swedish strawberries from K-G Paulssons Bär & Grönsaker in Bromölla for 35 kr (about $5.45) per liter. (Yup, I bought 'em. I found them a bit sweeter than the ones from Abraham Hill.) And while I didn't see any during my trip, you may find strawberry stands on city streets.
In a survey of consumers in Southern Sweden from 2009, over 90 percent of the respondents said that "they, or someone in their household, had bought strawberries by late June." Sweden meets the demands by harvesting about 15,000,000 kilograms of strawberries a year, or three to four liters per person in Sweden, according to the svenskajordgubbar.se. (Sweden imports plenty of strawberries too—here are some stats from 2001—but of course, most people go for the home grown version in the summer.) Strawberries are an essential part of Midsummer, a major holiday in Sweden, this year taking place on June 25. They're commonly eaten with whipped cream or ice cream, or made into cakes and jams—but I preferred to eat them straight-up plain. They made a great car snack during our hours of driving.