Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tomatoes as an art form? (Fridheimar Farm, Iceland)

 
During our stay in Iceland this past summer, we ran across this fabulous little place. I have copied all of the information from their website but added other links and many of our photos that we took. I will tell you this treasure did not disappoint. And, yes, I would go back to visit again and again. I just wanted to post on a Culinary Art piece as I don't think we have ever done that. I am in love with Iceland. Please take the time to watch the videos. I will do another post in the future on the graffiti there. I hope you enjoy this "off road" post - 1969
Tomato Cocktail - delicious =)

Learn more here
Friðheimar is very much a family affair, run by Knútur Rafn Ármann and his wife Helena Hermundardóttir. He is an agronomist from Hólar University College in north Iceland, while she is a horticulturalist from Reykir Horticultural College. Their five children, Dóróthea, Karítas, Matthías Jens, Arnaldur and Tómas Ingi, all play an active part in the family business.
At Friðheimar, we grow tomatoes all year round, despite Iceland’s long, dark winters, under artificial lighting in greenhouses. We welcome visitors to see our greenhouses, and then enjoy a taste of the crop. And now they can take delicious food souvenirs away with them, made of our tomatoes and cucumbers. We also breed horses, and put on a horse show – in fourteen different languages. 
 In 1995 Knútur and Helena bought Friðheimar, with the aim of combining their different areas of expertise – horses and horticulture. The farm already had two greenhouses, and a large house stood unoccupied. Horticulture using natural hot water had commenced at Friðheimar in 1946. Several years have now passed since Knútur and Helena started developing and expanding the operations, and today the place hums with life – as these are enterprising people!  The process of development at Friðheimar can be divided into three stages:
In 1995-2001 they built a 1,174 m² greenhouse. They continued running the farm as  before, and renovated existing buildings to use them in horticulture. During the early years, they settled in and laid their plans for the future.
In 2002-2006 they decided to start growing tomatoes all year round, installed lighting in the older buildings, and built a new 1,000 m² greenhouse with a complete lighting system. At that time they were also adding to their knowledge and expertise, for instance making frequent visits to Finland, where they benefited from collaboration with Finnish experts. Horticulture under artificial lighting is highly advanced in Finland.
In 2007-2013 they built up the equestrian centre and tourist services at Friðheimar. A stable for 20 horses was built, with reception facilities, as well as an outdoor arena with a stand for 120 spectators. A horse show for tourists was launched, and shortly after that greenhouse visits began.
*This is cheesecake with tomato jam - it was delicious!
In 2011 the crop-growing space was enlarged by 60%, and visitor facilities opened in the Atrium  in the greenhouses.
In 2012-2013 a range of food products/souvenirs was developed, made of tomato and cucumber.
In 2013 The Little Tomato Shop was opened next to the Atrium, selling edible souvenirs, and in 2014 Friðheimar opened its online shop.
Did you know that crops at Friðheimar yield an average of a ton a day? The annual harvest is 370 tons!
At Friðheimar we strive to grow the tastiest tomatoes we can, while respecting nature. Our tomatoes are cultivated all year round using the latest technology, in an environmentally-friendly way: green energy, pure water and organic pest controls combine to
produce fresh, healthful tomatoes.
Ever since they moved to Friðheimar, Knútur and Helena have specialised in cultivating tomatoes. They are keen to increase diversity in the Icelandic tomato market, and have introduced new cultivars from time to time. They were the first growers, for instance, to cultivate plum tomatoes and Flavorino cocktail tomatoes in Iceland on a year-round basis. Most recently they have introduced the delicious Piccolo tomato. At Friðheimar, the principle has been to grow tomatoes with optimum taste quality, while maintaining eco-friendly standards. The tomatoes are now grown all year, using state-of-the-art technology in an environmentally-friendly way. Green energy, pure water and biological pest controls make for tasty and healthful tomatoes. Cucumbers have also been cultivated at Friðheimar since 2011.

Knútur and Helena have striven to keep up with developments in the field,  and made many study visits to neighbouring countries to learn about cultivation methods, build up networks, and enhance their knowledge. They have set themselves high standards in their production, and are reaping the benefits. In 2009 they were awarded the Agricultural University of Iceland Incentive Award, and in 2010 they were chosen Growers of the Year by the Horticultural Marketing Association. In 2011 they received the Encouragement Reward of Icelandic Farm Holidays.
 Icelandic horticulturists manage pests using biological controls. The most effective of these is the predatory mirid bug Macrolophus pygmaeus, which devours all the main pests that afflict tomato plants. A good grower will also strive to manage temperature, humidity and watering so that the plants flourish and produce the optimum yield. In the nursery greenhouse, seeds are planted, and the plants grow in pots for there the first six weeks, with automated watering. When the plants are transplanted into the greenhouse they are flowering on the first truss, and seven to eight weeks later the first tomatoes blush red. At Friðheimar the tomatoes are cultivated in turf, and plants are renewed twice a year. As the crop takes a long time to reach fruition, a system of interplanting is used: young plants are planted in between the older plants, and the two grow side by side for seven to eight weeks. Just as the last tomatoes are ready to pick on the older plants, the first tomatoes on the young plants are turning red. Clever solution, isn’t it?
 The farm has abundant supplies of geothermal water, which provides heat to the greenhouses. The borehole is 200 m from the greenhouses and the water flows into them at about 95°C / 203°F.  In order to maximise sunlight in the greenhouses, the glass panes are only 4 mm thick, so a huge amount of hot water is needed – about 100,000 tons per year! And the pure cold water used for irrigation is from the same source as the family’s own water supply. Since tomatoes are about 90% water, the quality of irrigation water is very important. Iceland has abundant resources of “green” electricity from hydro and geothermal power plants, providing the artificial lighting necessary to grow the crops all year round at such a northerly latitude. And photosynthesis is enhanced by using carbon dioxide produced from natural geothermal steam.
Did you know that there are more than 10,000 different varieties of tomato in the world?
 Each greenhouse is equipped with a climate-control computer system for temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and lighting. The computer is connected with a fertilizer mixer, which waters the crop according to a programmed system. On the roof a weather observation unit provides data on wind speed and direction, temperature and light. When the sun comes out, and natural light reaches a certain level, the lights are automatically switched off – and come on again when the light level falls. All the systems are linked into a mainframe computer connected to the internet –  so Knútur and Helena can monitor and adjust the systems at Friðheimar, wherever they are in the world.

The horticultural facilities total about 5,000m² under glass, of which about 4,200m² are used for cultivation. The plant nursery accounts for 300m², the Atrium for visitors 300m², and about 200m² is used for packing etc. All the greenhouses have lighting for year-round cultivation. They were built in 1986, 1996, 2004 and 2011.

The stable, built in 2006, has space for 20 horses in stalls. The equestrian arena was added in 2007.
Ten hens rule the roost in the “Hen Palace,” built in 2010.
Rental accommodation for Friðheimar staff is provided at Friðheimahjáleiga, built in 2008.
 Have you ever been out for a meal in a greenhouse? Come and enjoy a unique food experience at our restaurant, with tomatoes growing all around! Tomato soup and fresh-baked bread, as well as other goodies, in a charming environment among the plants. Open 12–16 daily, all year round.

Tomatoes are the theme of Friðheimar cuisine – and that’s not surprising, since four different varieties of tomato are cultivated in the greenhouses, where food is served among the tomato plants. A unique food experience – come and enjoy it!

Menu: 12–16 daily

Main courses
  • The one and only Friðheimar Tomato Soup served on a buffet with sour cream, home baked bread, cucumber salsa, butter and fresh herbs.
  • Fresh pasta - Tortellone with home made pasta sauce and pesto.
  • Grilled Tortillas with tomato, basil and Mozzarella.
Desserts and treats
  • Green-tomato and apple pie à la Friðheimar with whipped cream
  • Home made tomato ice cream à la Friðheimar
  • Mouthwatering cheesecake with jam of green-tomato, cinnamon and lime
Refreshing drinks
  • Tomato schnapps – a hollow tomato filled with Icelandic Birch schnapps
  • Virgin Mary – a home made fresh tomato drink made from well riped tomatoes
  • Bloody Mary – now is the best time of the day for a Bloody Mary! Home made tomato drink with vodka and a drop of Tabasco
  • Healthy Mary – our newest drink, made from green tomato, lime, honey and ginger, served chilled with sparkling water
  • Happy Mary – here we take our green tomatoes to a new level: One part Hendrik's Gin, two parts Healthy Mary and glass filled up with Bitter Lemon
  • Gin & tonic – Hendrik's gin with tonic and cucumber
The restaurant is open daily 12–16, all year round. Come and enjoy a unique food experience!
And you can drop in to The Little Tomato Shop and pick up delicious edible souvenirs to take home...




Menu for groups

Groups of 10 or more: please book in advance on tel. (354) 486-8894 / 897-1915 or by email: fridheimar@fridheimar.is.
Hearty soups for lunch
  • The one and only Friðheimar Tomato Soup
  • Forester’s Trout Soup, served with cucumber pesto and green tomatoes
  • Friðheimar Lobster Soup with basil and mozzarella
  • Extra-hearty Friðheimar Tomato Soup with chicken, pork or lamb
Soups are all served with fresh-baked bread, butter, sour cream, cucumber salsa and fresh herbs.
Other courses
  • Fresh pasta with Friðheimar pasta sauce
  • Grilled tortillas with tomato, basil and Mozzarella
  • 3 meal course with meat or fish as main menu
Desserts
  • Friðheimar’s green-tomato and apple pie with whipped cream
  • Home made tomato ice cream à la Friðheimar
  • Mouthwatering cheesecake with jam of green-tomato, cinnamon and lime
Refreshing drinks
  • Tomato schnapps – a hollow tomato filled with Icelandic Birch schnapps
  • Virgin Mary – a home made fresh tomato drink made from well ripe tomatoes
  • Bloody Mary – now is the best time of the day for a Bloody Mary! Home made tomato drink with vodka and a drop of Tabasco
  • Healthy Mary – our newest drink, made from green tomato, lime, honey and ginger, served chilled with sparkling water
  • Happy Mary – here we take our green tomatoes to a new level: One part Hendrik´s Gin, two parts Healthy Mary and glass filled up with Bitter Lemon
  • Gin & Tonic – Hendrik's gin with tonic and cucumber slice
Canapés with Friðheimar Goodies



  • Canapés 5 pieces p.p.





  • Canapés 10 pieces p.p.
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    "This place was awesome, from the way they grow the tomatoes and manage the bees for pollinating to the fantastic tomato soup they serve for lunch. Try to have just one piece of the bread!! Enjoy the tomato schnapps in the edible shot glass when you arrive. Everything first rate."
    Tripadvisor traveller

     
    The chef
    One of Knútur and Helena’s many neighbours and colleagues is chef Jón K.B. Sigfússon, who has developed and designed all our food products for The Little Tomato Shop and the restaurant, working closely with the couple. Jón has many years of experience from around the world, and has cooked for many heads of state. Jón, who is also a talented photographer, took many of the photographs that appear on the Friðheimar website and tourist literature, and at the exhibition in the Atrium on geothermal horticulture.
    Other links:






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