farming

Windy silhouette

Windy silhouette

Iceland is an Arctic nation too! A tiny piece of this island crosses the Arctic circle making it one of the eight countries that make up the Arctic Council (can you name the others?) With warmer ocean currents wrapping around the coasts, Icelandic farmers use their expertise to make the most of a cool, damp…

A Glass of Fresh Milk Takes on New Meaning

A Glass of Fresh Milk Takes on New Meaning

Come along with Arctic Deeply as it continues its journey through Iceland. Stop on the way to meet the owners of a small family dairy farm working in an increasingly tourism driven economy. The lush hayfields look so natural it’s easy to overlook the expertise it takes to grow such a crop in a cool, rainy climate where windstorms blow…

Iceland’s Second Christmas – With Sheep

Iceland’s Second Christmas – With Sheep

Embark with Arctic Deeply as it makes its way into Iceland. Meet one family as they celebrate the annual Skaftholtsrettir, or sheep round up, in the small municipality of Gnupverjahreppur. “The rettir is like a second Christmas,” said Olga Andreason, the matriarch of Minni-Mastunga farm located about 7 kilometers (4 miles) away. Her six kids and several of…

Welcome memories, Minni-Mástanga Farm, Iceland

Welcome memories, Minni-Mástanga Farm, Iceland

Iceland memories: It was getting late at the Minni-Mástanga farmhouse. We’d spent the day driving sheep home from the oldest sheep pens in Iceland. We’d spent the evening sharing a meal with the whole family (parents, six kids, grandkids and more). The only person we didn’t really talk with was this guy, Vilhjálmur Guðmundsson, eldest…

(Post 2 of 3) Raising sheep is Lauga’s hobby, and she is darned good at it. This is her room, within the sheep barn, where she spends the nights during lambing season. All of these framed certificates are prizes she has won. Lambing can be very quick, “Sometimes is starts and finishes within one hour,”…

(Post 3 of 3) Before we leave Hraun-Háls, we visit in the kitchen over cake, whipped cream and fresh milk. Eyberg drinks almost nothing but milk – about 4 litres per day – and the sample he shares with us is rich and delicious (4.4% fat). We look at the trophies they have won for…

(Post 2 of 5) These are Icelandic cows, and each one in this barn has its own name. This is just one clue to the care they receive here, another is the yield. The average milk production for an Icelandic dairy cow is 5400 litres/year; these ladies give 7700 litres/year. “They have hay and very…

(Post 3 of 5) “These cows are my friends,” says Eyberg, but that’s not quite what he means. He searches for the words in English and pulls his hands to his chest. “They are my good friends,” he continues, “my good friends.” There’s one cow that’s nervous about being milked. She recently had her first…