Last summer was awful for Finnish standards and I was completely bummed out when I found out we were late for strawberry season. Yes, last year we barely ate strawberries and only from supermarket. We drove to several farms on that day and everyone told us they had only jam or juice left, but no fresh strawberries. We went to a berry farm, where a nice old lady looked at us like we were crazy and said in Finnish: “Berries?! Summer is over!”. It was the first half of August.
This year I kept my eyes open and made calls to my favourite farm, to make sure not to repeat that mistake. The farm I usually go to is an organic strawberry farm called Mattilan Luomutila, in Nurmijärvi. It’s a 30 minute drive from the capital area, towards Tampere. They have several varieties of strawberries, which you can pick yourself and save on the final price. You can either bring your buckets or they will provide you with one. If you don’t have time, you can buy a ready-made box, but I suggest to call them beforehand to make sure they have boxes available and of the variety you want. This year they also opened a summer cafe – which we didn’t visit, unfortunately. The field opens at 9 am until late afternoon, while the cafe operates from 10 am to 6 pm. Prices vary, but usually I have paid from 5 to 8 euros per kilo of self-picked strawberries, which is less than half of what you’d pay at markets in the city centre. Oh, and did I mention all their strawberries are organic? You do not need to bring cash, as they accept credit/debit card as well.
Fun fact: their neighbour has a ostrich farm, which we visited a couple of years ago. They are open to the public, they show their ostriches, have a small shop of ostrich-derived products and, with pre-booking, they act as restaurant and make you taste ostrich meat and eggs. We went with some friends for dinner and were really pleased!
R. was a little lazy and didn’t pick much, but she enjoyed tasting the quality on the spot. E. is still too small to pick, but I brought his push cart and he helped following with that, while we were filling it up. In my experience, toddlers last about half an hour in this activity, which for us was enough to get 4 kg of delicious, sweet Finnish strawberries. They don’t last long, so we are eating them fresh for few days, making some ice-cream, and freezing the last in portions for future smoothies. If you have a car don’t wait and rush to pick the best strawberries of your life!