A Day in the Golden Circle
During my travels this past October, I had the opportunity to explore the Golden Circle; a sight-seeing route in the southern part of Iceland. In just 300km, I was able to see some of the most naturally breathtaking works of art. The much anticipated Geyser, the great Gollfoss waterfall, the Thingvellir National Park Rift Valley, Kerið; a volcanic crater lake, and (I'd be lying if I said this wasn't one of the highlights of my trip) the Fridheimar Farm. Leave it to the foodie to find absolute, pure joy in dining at a tomato greenhouse!
Sustainability at the Farm
Fridheimar Farm is a family owned business where tomatoes are cultivated year round; which has become integral to Iceland's rather hostile winter climate. Running on natural resources, the greenhouse utilizes hydro-electrical and geothermal energy to power grow lights; thermal energy is used to balance internal temperatures; and carbon dioxide obtained from natural steam is used to increase photosynthetic reactions. Pumice; a product of Iceland's volcanic geological make up, is also used as a moisturizing agent to aid in the fertilization process. Aside from putting their natural resources to good use, the greenhouse has imported mirid bugs and bumble bees from Holland to control against pests (rather than using harmful pesticides) and aid in the pollination process. I can't help but admit how inspired I was to learn about this farming process first hand, and the importance of minimizing our global footprint through the production of goods.
So picture this; we walk in through the front entrance, a gift shop to our right, with all homemade Fridheimar farm tomato based products. Past the Little Tomato Shop, is a cozy open concept restaurant, filled with rows of white cloth covered tables, set with pitchers of water, fresh basil plants, and stemmed glasses. We're greeted by a lady, who takes our name, and party number. While we wait for our table, we explore the ceiling high posters to our right, highlighting all the wonderful ins and outs of the greenhouse, it's impact on Iceland's tomato population, and the many natural ways it utilizes it's surrounding resources. To the left of the dining tables, there are rows and rows of tomato plants; open to the public to wonder about (as long as we don't touch of course). The atmosphere felt truly immersive; such an exceptional way to learn about the growing process. I think that in Western culture, food consumption often comes at such a leisure, that we sometimes forget to take the time to really understand the roots of where our food is coming from. We tend to take nutrition at face value, without really digging into the pros and cons of how our food is being produced, the hormonal impacts these foods may have on our bodies, and the overarching effects these production methods have on the environment and other species. Hopefully this is something to think about the next time you're grabbing "a quick bit" or loading up on processed foods at the grocery store! Understanding is key friends!
The Main Event
Of course, the best part! All you can eat homemade soup, fresh bread, and pickled cucumber slaw! Considering how expensive it was to dine out in Iceland, I was extremely grateful for the chance to splurge! You better believe we carbed up that day! And what better way to recharge after a day of sight-seeing in the cold Icelandic weather! I'm simply both humbled and inspired by this experience, and I strongly recommend a visit to the Fridheimar Farm if the opportunity presents itself!