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Growing strawberries in Iceland's climate

Near the small town of Reykholt in South Iceland, we find one of the very few local growers of strawberries: Kvistar.

Mr. Steinar Jensen has been producing strawberries for the Icelandic market for over 10 years. Mr. Jensen: “Iceland imports strawberries, but we also see that consumers in this country prefer to buy a local product, if and when that is available. That is the market we try to serve”.

Production takes place on a hanging gutter system in a glass greenhouse. The greenhouse is heated on warm water that bubbles up from the ground near their town.

Mr. Jensen: “I had heard from colleagues in other countries that they managed to improve the vitality of their plants and reduce the presence of diseases in their strawberry crop, by daily supplementation with UV. That made sense to me, but I did not feel justified to invest in an expensive robot for my small greenhouse, unless I could have observed those benefits in my greenhouse, in my climate, with my varieties. And so, in the summer of 2020, I purchased a UV Handtrolley from CleanLight”

Mr. Steiner Jensen follows the protocols for strawberries as published by CleanLight back in 2008 in a meticulous manner. Firstly, treat the flowers daily to prevent the formation of Botryitis, and other diseases later in the production cycle. Secondly, treat the foliage daily to keep it strong, dark green, and free of powdery mildew, and other diseases.

Mr. Jensen adds: “Now that I have worked with this system for one season, I can say that I am pleased with the results. I can recommend it to strawberry growers in other countries who also wish to strengthen and protect their plants and their berries, just like we do here. In my opinion, this is a huge step forward for the horticulture industry in general and for growers of quality strawberries in particular.”

In a final note, Mr. Jensen says: “I am now in my seventies, and I walk every day with that trolley through the entire greenhouse. That is fine for me; it keeps me rather fit. But, looking back I wish I had invested in a more efficient system. For example, in a CleanLight system like I have seen on the internet whereby one pass treats all aisles in a bay at once, or in a robotized version. The treatment must be easy to execute because if you skip a few days here and there, you can easily loose some beneficial effect.”

Arjo van der Sluis of CleanLight has been working with Mr. Jensen on this project: “It has been a joy to work on this project. They follow our advice meticulously and are quite willing to share their experience,  with us, and with other growers. That contributes to a more sustainable production system for strawberries. Not just in Iceland, but also elsewhere."

For more information:
Arjo VanDerSluis
Nieuwe Kanaal 7
6709 PA Wageningen
+ 31 317 497 620

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