Sunday, August 16, 2009

Slimminge Skördag - Harvest Festival We live in the south of Sweden, which is a great area with two decent size cities- Lund, an old University Town, and Malmö, an urban center. Plus, we are not all that far from the Capital of Denmark, Copenhagen. But the most notable thing living outside the cities in Skåne is that we are in farm land. Driving to either city means driving past farms with fields of grain and little red barns. The cycles of the growing season are very apparent. We notice the planting, sprouting, and harvesting of the fields around us as a simple fact of our life, in a way it was not part of life in Florida. It is also notable how all the farms seem to be family farms. There is an absence of Conagra mega farms, and there must be policies in place that support small farms. This is so wonderful to see, coming from the USA where Willie Nelson and others have to raise funds for Farm Aid (link) with benefit concerts to try to save the American small family farms. So many have been lost due to poor political policies that favor agribusinss to the detriment of the small farms. Anyway, now summer is peaking, we have been watching the big harvest machines go to work making bales and harvesting the grains. So we thought it would be fun to check out what the farmers are up to by going to the Harvest festival/ Skördag in the small old farming village of Slimminge. It was a rainy day, but we headed out anyway. Slimminge is a very small village, set amongst the rolling hills of Skåne. The view from the festival over the hill tops was lovely. We parked in a harvested wheat filled on the stumble of the straw. There were threshing demonstrations, where they showed how the wheat was cut in the old times by hand with a scythe. Then it was carried by the horse drawn cart over to the old fashioned steam engine powered machine that extracted the grain from the straw.

We got a ride in the horse drawn cart while they carried the wheat bundles from the harvest field over to the threshing machine. The cart was loaded with fresh cut wheat.

The horses pulled our cart

The wheat was hoisted up and loaded into the steam powered machine

And out came husked wheat on one end wheat

Wheat Berries

And Bales of Hay on the Other End and Isn't that guy a dead ringer for Pettersson from Pettersson and Findus? Here is a little video of the process

After the horses were unharnessed from the cart, SwedeGirl got to go for a horse ride There were various old engines and farm equipment on display, and a number of old grinding stones.
The old spelling of Simrishamn, with a 'C', Cimbrishamn, the largest village near SwedeDaddy's childhood home
Now a days things are done more efficientlyThe festival had a small collection of tents with local vendors, a bouncy house, and food.
This was the competition for strongest man and woman. They were cheering this woman on, in the competition of who could hold the buckets up the longest. This vendor was selling linen, and demonstrating how the bundles of raw linen are crushed, combed, and spun into thread. This fellow makes brushes from animal hair. This little brush is made from human hair, just for fun. Most of his bristles are made from goat and horse hair. We met a woman who keeps 35 angora bunnies. They keep escaping and breeding, and they are so cute she just keeps them all. She uses the fur to spin yarn and make felted angora crafts. These were so soft! We bought these little bunnies from her to give Swedegirl's teachers from last year. We wanted to give them a little gift, toys for the classroom, as a thank you when we see them this week at the back to school fika/ coffee. And there was food...Fresh and varied tomatoes, my favorite! The typical Swedish fresh produce selection- roots. A variety of onions, potatoes, carrots, and beets. The apples are coming in! These fresh tart ones were just 1 kronor each.

The BBQ- they went WHOLE HOG. Of course we had some, the smoked pork and ribs were served with apple sauce and this super creamy pineapple relish. And this lady was demonstrating how to make the traditional Spettkak over a cast iron stove. Spettkak means 'spit cake' since it is made on a spit like this. It is like meringue, and made of eggs, potato flour, and sugar. We tried some of this, too. She had some interesting artwork in her tent, including this painting of Nils Holgerssons, a character in a famous children's story intended to teach geography, about his travels on the back of a goose across Sweden after he is shrunk to leprechaun size. Since we have been trying our hand at baking bread this summer, this trip to the harvest festival tied together the process and source of our 'daily bread'. We are grateful to the farmers. And to Sweden for it's support of the small family farmers. There is so clearly a long tradition and deep knowledge of how to work the land here. We were glad to honor their efforts by learning a bit about their work at the festival.


Rose said...

I know I've said it before, but oh my god, I LOVE YOU, SWEDEN!!!

I was just doing some work with M and one of the things I saw was a beautiful wheat field in Kansas. Looks like the universe is trying to tell me something about wheat right now!

Kangaroo said...

wow. your photos on this post are the angora bunnies and fresh tomatoes... love that the girl is experiencing this... love you!