Sweden faces midsummer strawberry shortage due to unfavourable weather

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Unusually warm and dry weather in May are causing a strawberry shortage in Sweden. In this picture, strawberries grow at a farm in Peru. (Mariana Bazo/Reuters)
Would Midsommar even be Midsommar without Swedish strawberries? Well millions may be about to find out.

At Västernäs strawberry farm just outside Höör in central Skåne (southern Sweden), there’s only about 15 percent as many berries as usual for this time of year.

“The problem this year with the Midsommar strawberries is we are coming just between the early varieties and the late varieties,” says Torbjörn Sterner Johansson, whose family has been running the farm for four generations.

“We have about I would say 10 percent to 15 percent of what we could sell this week.”

Heat, drought affect harvest

Sterner Johansson blames Sweden’s unusually warm and sunny May, which pushed the early varieties, which are normally timed to peak at Midsommar, to flower and fruit two weeks early.

With more than half of Sweden’s strawberry production coming from Skåne and southern Småland, where the weather has been the same as in Höör, Johansson expects the country to rely on imports from Holland and Belgium to meet the Midsommar surge.

“It’s a catastrophe. We can’t buy strawberries anywhere because everybody’s sold out,” he says. “But of course people will survive without strawberries for Midsommar. I think life will go on.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada invests $1.2 million to help solve mystery of dwindling char numbers in Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s May heat streak longest in 34 years, YLE News

Norway: Norway’s Arctic islands crush May heat records, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Record heatwave in the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Lack of rain could force Swedish farmers to kill their livestock early, Radio Sweden

United States: Authorities agree to new wetland mitigation guidelines in Alaska, Alaska Public Media

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