Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries

In Swedish there is an expression for a memory that you long to revisit. It’s called a smultronställe, or “wild strawberry place,” hence the reference to the famous Bergman film, and so-called because if you find a place where wild strawberries grow, you never tell a soul.

It’s no coincidence that the endearing family Biärsjö who run Hallongården (“The Raspberry Garden”) refer to their farm that way. They call it a “Raspbery place.”

Although the farm has been in Kerstin’s family since 1810, there is evidence that it was a working farm in the 17th century. It was together with her husband, Johan, a former agricultural minister, that Kerstin decided to put the farm on the map as a place where people from the city could come to get away. Today their daughter Anna (who grew up playing with the Lindström boys down the road) also helps run the place, making it the eighth generation to work on the farm.

Originally, the Biärsjös farmed only raspberries, but today they also grow asparagus, gooseberries, blueberries and rowanberries. Thirty to forty per cent of their product is old on the farm while the rest goes to the cities around Sweden. As the farm grew, the Biärsjö family also acquired honey bees to aid in pollination, and they stocked their man-made pond with crayfish.

“While many farm fields are closed off, our idea was to make people feel at home,” Johan explained to us while walking the rows of raspberry trellises, all still in their dormant stage. The day before we arrived 200 people came out to see the baptism of their baby goats (they were named, of course, for the latest royal princesses of Denmark and Sweden) and still more came out on the drizzly day that we stopped in, to see the goats and have lunch.

If, while driving through southern Sweden, you should find yourself wishing you could sit between the raspberry rows enjoying your own Bergman-esque moment, this is where you should stop. The cafe that Kerstin runs has delicious sandwiches topped with her house-made jams. It would be a sin to miss out on her award-winning nectar, and unlike a smultronställe, you can take it with you.