Steinstø Fruit Farm
Two hours after leaving Bergen, we cross one of the smaller branches of the Hardangerfjord over the Fyksesund bridge (Fyksesundbrua). This bridge we have yet to see from the water, and along the banks of this arm to swim by boat, but more on this later.
Now we will get acquainted with The Steinstø fruit farm (Steinstø Fruktgard), located in one kilometer from the bridge.
Surprisingly, in this northern country, too, they grow sweet fruits that are peculiar, it would seem, exclusively to Sunny regions.
First of all, we go to the restaurant, where we are waiting for a special treat.
This is a homemade Apple pie, cherry jam and fruit yogurt, as well as a glass of freshly squeezed Apple juice.
Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant, Heidi Steinstø, told us her story: according to Norwegian traditions, the farm is inherited by the eldest of the owner's children. The eldest in the family was Heidi, but in her youth she decided to leave the farm and went to study in the city, ceding the right of inheritance to her younger brother Ola. In the city, Heidi met her love-a police officer, got married and had two children.
At that time, Norway was still one of the poorest countries in Europe, and life in the city was not as easy as it seemed to Heidi at first. Working as a nurse, she constantly had to take extra night shifts. Finally, she could not stand it and asked her father to return. However, the father replied that there was no work for them here and no one would support them. It was then that she came up with the idea of baking Apple pies and selling them to passers - by on the busy road that passed near the farm. Surprisingly, the trade went briskly, and in the first year Heidi baked about 1000 pies.
For slicing fruit for pies used here is a simple device.
Steinstø pies quickly became famous, over time the small bakery turned into a large restaurant Kjedlaren with 60 seats, where you can have a full meal, but the main highlight is still the same Apple pie. Heidi's husband now works at a nearby police station and helps out on the farm and at a restaurant in his spare time.
If You take a table by the window, you will also enjoy the wonderful view.
After the meal we go for a walk in the orchard.
The owner of the farm, Ole Steinstø, Heidi's brother, tells about the history of the farm and its products.
The Steinstø family settled on the steep bank of the fjord in the 18th century, and now the farm employs the ninth generation of gardeners.
This apple tree is more than 200 years old. When it was broken during a storm, Ola's father was very worried and took care of the tree.
Ola manages the farm with the help of his large family - he and his wife Ruth have five children. Ola's father, Arnvid Steinstø, although he handed over all the reins of power to his son, together with his mother, Roberta, provide all possible assistance in the work. By the nineties, the business had grown so much that seasonal workers had to be hired.
The farm grows not only apples, but also plums, pears and a dozen other fruit and berry plants. Now the area of the farm is almost 25 hectares, it has more than 3500 fruit trees. The annual yield exceeds 60 tons.
In addition to fruit trees on the slope grow gooseberry bushes, sea buckthorn, raspberries, there is a strawberry plantation.
And all this is managed by a family of farmers and 5-6 seasonal workers from Poland, who have been constantly coming here in the summer since 1996.
In addition to caring for fruit trees the owners have time for flowers.
When asked whether they make Apple cider, Ola said that in Norway, the production of alcoholic beverages is strictly controlled by the state, so only three major agricultural firms have a license to produce cider. Well, for family use, you can make cider, of course, the main expert in this is his father.
The farm not only sells fresh fruit, but also produces canned fruit in a small factory.
Below the farm, just off the Fv7 highway, there is a store where you can buy farm products.
They sell both fresh fruits and berries, as well as all sorts of processed products: jam, jams, fruit yoghurts.
Next to the store there is a summer café under the open sky on the high Bank of Hardangerfjord.