Originally one third of Finland was marshlands. Maybe that is why Finland is Suomi in Finnish – suo means marshland. Half of the original marshlands have been drained for use as arable land or to increase forest growth. Especially in Southern Finland there are very few large marshlands left. We visited Torronsuo – which is one of the biggest marshlands in Southern Finland – about one hours drive from Helsinki.
The picture shows the flowering of wild cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccos. Also cloudberry was flowering while some already are raw berries. And at the edges of the marshland mountain cranberry (lingonberry) is flowering too. Bilberry has already formed small berries – of course still raw and green. So this is where we need to come to pick cranberries in the late summer. (Of course the commercial picking happens mostly in Northern Finland.) V.oxycoccos is by the way not the same cranberry as its much bigger brother that is cultivated in Canada (V. macrocarpum).
TIKE, the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, has for the first time collected data on the use of organic crops in Finland. The data for the 2006 crop of organic cereals (wheat, rye, oats and barley) has now been released. It shows that the production of organic cereals was 47 million kg or 1,2 % of total cereal production in Finland. By far the biggest crop (51 % of organic total) was oats. What is stricking about the statistics is that the average crop was only c 50 % of normal and also that only 51 % of that entered the market as organic. So only 12 million kg of organic oats entered the market which is far less than is normally exported from Finland as bulk – not to speak about domestic consumption and Helsinki Mills’ export of oat flakes. The numbers fully explain the crises we have been in regarding organic oats in Finland.
So far the 2007 crop looks ok: it has been warm and moist. But it is still over 2 months to harvest…