The year’s first crop of outdoor-cultivated vegetables to has been harvested and will be appearing on local grocery store shelves in abundance by the end of the month, RÚV reports. Major summer crops include cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Outdoor-grown produce in Iceland is naturally subject to the whims of the country’s famously unpredictable weather. Given the local climate and the profusion of geothermal heat, greenhouses are favoured for much of the country’s locally grown produce. There are currently between twenty and thirty farmers who grow potatoes outdoors; roughly the same number cultivate vegetables outside. As a rule, the first summer harvest is in mid-July.
“Cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, then potatoes—they usually come in the middle of July,” explains Helgi Jóhannesson, a consultant for the Icelandic Agricultural Advisory Centre. “Then carrots and beets come later. They take longer to grow, so usually, at the beginning of August.”
Imported vegetables still account for the majority of produce on Icelandic shelves, but summertime, particularly after Merchant’s Weekend at the beginning of August, sees a dramatic increase in the availability of locally grown vegetables.
“It’s obviously clear that it’s much better than importing vegetables and people are excited about it—I always find it a rather festive occasion when [Icelandic-grown produce] has finally arrived again,” continues Helgi, who says that this year’s first summer harvest bodes well for the rest of the outdoor growing season.