Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A thing known passes out of the mind into the muscles

Cloudberries, is there anything better to eat?

(Posting title is from the poem Kora in Hell: Improvisations XXII by William Carlos Williams.)


Martina said...

I don't know if there is anything better. I didn't even know they exist before reading your post :-)

I just read there are only few in Northern Germany where they are under legal protection.

Juha Haataja said...

Martina, it is right now the season for cloudberries in Lapland. Here in the south the season is mostly over, except in some shaded spots where they ripen slowly.

In Finland cloudberries are a much appreciated delicacy, even though some people don't like the taste.

There is some description about the plant here, and a map showing how much of the plant there is in different places in Finland. Lapland is colored with red meaning that there is a lot of the berries there.

People come abroad to Finland to pick the berries from swamps and forests. It is rather hard work but if you sell the berries you don't need to pay income tax.

When I was a student at the university I picked a lot of cloudberries one summer when the price was high, getting quite a nice income for funding my living during the studies.

Martina said...

Thank you very much for your many explanations. Especially the part about not paying income tax and the student job is so interesting.
Haaa, what one learns! :-)

Juha Haataja said...

Martina, during summer there is always discussion in Finnish newspapers how lazy the Finns have become about picking berries from forests.

Picking forest and swamp berries is physically hard, and you need to have rudimentary orienteering skills to go bit bit farther into the woods where the best places usually are.

On the other hand, we have so-called "everyman's right" here in Finland (see here), allowing anyone to walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside, except in gardens, in the immediate vicinity of people’s homes, and in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged, and also to pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species.

And as mentioned, if you sell the wild berries or mushrooms you pick, you don't need to pay taxes, so even though the price per kilogram may not always be that high, at least you get all that money for your own use. Some years the price for cloudberries has been rather high.

And if you know a place where there are cloudberries even if they otherwise are scarce, that can provide a nice source of income for all the back-breaking work. But nowadays I just pick a few berries to enjoy the taste each summer.

Martina said...

Thank you very much (again ;-)).
The concept of "Everyman's right" sounds too good to be true, *smile*, but as the site you linked states, there are few problems with it, if any at all. It's all a subject of social upbringing I think - if rules and rights work well then society's experience is that there is no need for restrictions and laws. Nice. I like that concept very much.

Juha Haataja said...

Well, the principle of "everyman's right" works well with Finns, and it isn't really not too difficult to learn the restrictions, such as not disturbing the peace of people's homes and gardens. It is somewhat strange that similar rules don't apply elsewhere.

As an example, I take it that one could run into serious trouble in the USA if one would try to behave as here in Finland, going for a walk in a forest to pick berries...

Martina said...

I really don't know about the US. But here in Germany things changed in the last years. I live in an area that mostly is vineyards, orchards and fields (asparagus, potatoes etc..). In the last years farmers tend to fence in the orchards, mostly because people don't follow the rules anymore. Usually you can walk wherever you want. There are certain (written and unwritten) rules: Don't destroy anything. Don't pick fruits from trees that are not harvested already. Don't leave your waste. Etc. etc.
What do people do? Enter the orchards with plastic bags and pick the fruits before the farmer can harvest them. No wonder they fence in everything. It's sad.
Until now the vineyards are open. Let's see how long this will last.

Juha Haataja said...

Martina, I haven't seen many fenced gardens here in Finland, but in Lapland I saw some, and it took a while to understand why: reindeer are half-wild, half-tame, and aren't really afraid of people, so they can come and eat what is in the garden near the house. My daughter counted how many reindeer she saw: 89.