It's no surprise that berries thrive in Finland, a country with a landscape dominated by forests, lakes and fells. More than 50 varieties of berries grow here/in Finland - 37 of them edible, and 12 of them farmed commercially. The other ingredients that produce perfect crops of bilberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, sea buckthorn, include the long warm days and white nights, which extend the summer growing season. "During the growing season, berries get a lot of light, and so they grow very fast and the sun enhances the taste of the berries," explains Simo Moisio, director of Arctic Flavours, a Finnish berry association.
The star attraction of Finland's berry crops is the bilberry - which is native to northern Europe, and not to be confused with the larger, cultivated North American blueberry. Bilberries can be found all over the forest floor in mid-to-late summer when the conditions are just right. Many Finns enjoy the annual ritual of going off on an expedition to pick bucketfuls of the deep indigo-coloured berries.
Finnish bilberries are highly prized due to their dense concentration of vitamins and nutrients, and bilberries have three to four times more anthocyanin polyphenols than cultivated blueberries. That means more nutrients, more vitamins C and E, more fibre and most importantly more flavour per berry!
Innovative Finnish businesses are experts in making berry products, like powders, dried berries, smoothies, shots, cold pressed juices, liquors, extracts and snacks. Everything a conscious consumer looking for natural yet premium product is looking for.
One of the key export markets for Finnish berries is Asia, where consumers remain very interested in the healthy properties of berry superfoods. Finnish food is considered usually natural, fresh and clean. A constant growth in health promoting berry products from the Arctic North is to be seen.