Many people think that domestic strawberries are better tasting than foreign ones. Finland is perhaps not the best country for fruit cultivation, but the strawberries of the Finnish short strawberry season are extremely tasty.
The secret of sweet strawberries is the northern climate. The open field strawberries can enjoy a steady sunlight, that accelerates plant sugar production. Strawberries taste sweeter in Finland because they get more light during the summer than in the south.
In the south, sunshine will ripen the berries quickly, but in the evenings darkness will come too early to produce the same amount of sugar and aromas than the Nordic strawberries.
There are some important differences between the different strawberry varieties. Some strawberries are more sweet, others has more mild taste. Some varieties are more likely to suffer from mold. Also depending on whether your intention is just to eat strawberries, make cakes or perhaps freeze them, the variety should be chosen according to the intended use.
The number and quality of strawberries and the timing and length of the season varies from year to year, depending on the outside temperatures and the amount of rain. The best strawberry season usually starts at the end of June and lasts for about a month.
Temperatures and rain determine the amount of strawberries each year. Photo: Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki.
The strawberry season is normally short, which is why you may see Finns rushing to buy strawberries when they appear in markets and shops.
There are many different strawberry varieties, here the most common ones:
Honey: early strawberry variety that begins the strawberry season. The taste is mild, yet juicy.
Rumba: the berries are large, glossy and gentle.
Polka: the most popular variety. The berries are sweet, dark red and round in shape. Ideal for preservation.
Frida: fine aroma, a hint of forest strawberry.
Sonata: berries are bright red, regular conical and glossy. Sonata is also well suited for preservation.
Salsa: berries are large, bright red and good in taste.
Malwina: the great delicacy of the late season. Berries are large, dark red, firm and shiny. The taste reminds of the 'old-fashioned strawberry' and is excellent when it is fully ripe.
You can also pick up strawberries yourself
You can find domestic strawberries in most of the markets and shops. But if you want to enjoy really fresh strawberries, you can also pick them up directly from the field.
There are many berry farms around Finland that sell berries directly to consumer and also offer the opportunity to pick up the strawberries from the field. The self collected strawberries have a price per kilogram, that varies depending on the farm.
You can pick up berries into your own container or bucket, or use the ones they offer in the farm. On arrival, you can normally taste the strawberry varieties that can be picked up that day. The Finnish sun can be surprisingly hot, so it is recommended to take enough water and headgear with you.
HERE is a link to find the berry farms near to your home town. Just pick up the province from the list on the left
It is recomended to contact the farms in advance and ask about schedules and prices. In addition to strawberries, many farms also have other berries that can be bought.
The price of the picked strawberry is almost the same as the price in the market or shop. In the market you often see strawberries sold in 5 kg boxes, costing 30-50 euros depending on the variety and the locality. Normally you can taste one before making the big decision of which variety to buy.
Usually strawberries are also sold in one liter containers, which typically costs from five to six euros.
Easy strawberry cake
If you don't know what to bake with strawberries, try the Finnish classic summer strawberry cake with whipped cream.
The easiest version of strawberry cake is to buy a ready-made cake base, moisten it with milk or juice and spread over whipped cream and strawberries. Simply delicious!