For Jo’s Monday walk, today we shall take a tour to a farming village called Lærdal in Norway where major agriculture production includes potatoes, apricots, oats, raspberries and most of all cherries. Sweet cherries or Morello cherries, originally from China now grown in Norway are popular and are sold in majority of grocery stores in Norway. The cherry production in this region is more than 200 tons and accounts for half of the total cherry production in Norway.
To learn about Norwegian farm life and its challenges we took a guided tour/walk with one of the renowened farmers of this region. His talk also includes the following topics:
- Cherries – varieties, root stocks, tree architecture and cover systems in operation
- Testing and benchmarking for the cherry varieties: The Canadian varieties from Summerland reseach: Van, Lapins and Sweet Hart, and the European: Regina (Germany), Kordia (Czeck rep) and Girgia (Italian)
- Ideas around robotics and drone monitoring in fruit orchards
Long growing season, soft light, good soil and plenty of fresh water give the cherries the good taste. Cherries or Moreller tastes best when they have a deep dark red color and kept on room temperature.
The Norwegian agriculture has by far the strictest rules. It’s one of the reasons why one can safely eat cherries and other norwegian proctuct. Our tour also included
- Visit to Lærdal Grønt Pack House to study the operation of cherry grading machine that will deliver more then 200 tons of cherries to the Norwegian market this year (about 50% of Norwegian production)
- Discussing ideas around big data and cherry grading based on the 30 pictures pr cherry data optical grading system
- Visit to “Smak av Sogn Landhandel” local & regional food and drink shop
Approximately two million sheep are grazing in the outlying fields of Norway every summer. That’s unique, and something that you won’t experience elsewhere.
“In Norway, the resource situation is different than in the rest of Scandinavia and other comparable countries. Only three per cent of Norway’s landmass is arable land, but 45 percent is usable or excellent grazing land”, says Tone Våg, sheep farmer and leader of the Norwegian Sheep and Goat Association.
Våg continues: “Norwegian agriculture is dependent on the extra resource of the outlying fields, and pasture is an important source of income for Norwegian farms”.
Sheep grazing in outlying fields have free access to whatever they want to eat. That makes the Norwegian sheep happy.
“When you’re taking the sheep to their summer grazing land in the mountains you can hear the happy sounds from the herd. You can tell from how they’re acting that they remember from year to year”, Våg says.
Grazing without fences allows the sheep to act more in tune with their instincts, and they naturally divide into smaller groups with individuals closely related to one another.
If you occasionally encounter sheep far into the wild, you normally don’t need to worry: “Sheep recognises where they are, and they know where they are going” Våg says.