Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

From the farm to your plate: Traditional skyr and tasty ice cream

By Sara McMahon

  • Farmer-to-consumer marketing is on the rise in Iceland. Photo/Valgarður Gíslason

The Beint frá býli organization supports direct farmer-to-consumer marketing, which has become increasingly popular in Iceland over the past few years. Consumers view direct marketing as a way of gaining access to fresh, high- quality foods while minimizing their ecological footprint, and farmers see it as an alternative market outlet to increase their income.

 

Husband and wife Helga Elínborg Guðmundsdóttir and Þorgrímur Guðbjartsson run the dairy farm Erpsstaðir in Búðardalur, West Iceland. Besides raising livestock, the couple produces dairy products such as the ice -cream brand Kjaftæði, cheese, and delicious treats made from skyr, a traditional dairy product similar to strained yoghurt. Their products are available in Frú Lauga’s Farmers Market in Reykjavík and the Ljómalind Farmers Market in Borgarnes town. The couple also offers accommodation and invites visitors to partake in every-day tasks on the farm.

Why did you decide to go into agritourism?

“The main reason was that there was little or no entertainment for tourists in the Búðardalur region at the time, and we wanted to respond to the growing demand. We decided to welcome guests to our farm and introduce them to our daily life. Last year we received around twenty-five thousand guests, including fifteen hundred school children,” Helga explains.

Does the tourism part go well with traditional farm chores?

“It’s a lot of extra work, but we greatly enjoy receiving visitors, and most of them are very thankful for the chance to meet local people and interact with the animals.
“Tours of the farm are very informal. We chat with our guests, show them around the farm and tell them about our products. Usually this side job fits in nicely with our daily chores, but because we keep a tight schedule, any unforeseen event, such as a water leak or run-away farm animal, can disrupt our whole day.”

What is your most popular product?

“Our ice -cream, Kjaftæði, is without a doubt our most popular product. People will stop to buy ice -cream but leave our shop with bags chock full of home-made cheese, traditional skyr, and confectionaries.”

Erpsstaðir farm welcomes guests daily between 1 pm and 5 pm from June 1st until September 15th. During the off-season, they are open to visitors when they’re home. Those who want to visit the cow shed can simply drop by or call in advance. 

 

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