STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION IN FINLAND
The strawberries are mainly grown in the open. Near the population centres, the early strawberries are grown in plastic houses, in plastic tunnels and under covers. Particularly the use of fleece covers has increased. Using these methods the crop can be made earlier by a few days and up to two weeks. Late frosts in May and June can cause a considerable crop loss by destroying the flowers and unripe berries. Sprinkling is used as protection against frost. Over half, about 70 %, of the total cultivation area is taken up by cultivation on plastic covering. Black plastic mulch makes the crop earlier by a few days, it facilitates weed control, and under Finnish conditions it has not been found to harm the berries. The picking is by hand and the berries are cooled for the transport. The buyer fetches the berries from the farm, often directly after the picking. Exploring the possibilities of machine harvesting has started.
In Finland cultivars that have become adapted to a cold winter and a short cool summer can be grown. In winter the snow cover protects the plant stand and it is not covered up for the winter. The main cultivar is Senga Sengana, whose share of the cultivation area is about 70 %. It is used for fresh marketing, freezing and for industrial processing. The early production uses Zephyr, whose share is about 10 %. Another early cultivar is the Ostara, new-comers are the Jonsok and the Finnish Hiku. A list of cultivars recommended for cultivation, including the cultivation areas suited for them, is published annually.
The strawberry processing products only make up one part of the production of the food processing companies. The industry and the central wholesale companies do not grow strawberries themselves but the strawberries are grown under contract for their needs. The area of the contract cultivation varies, an estimated 2–10 % of the growing area comes under contract cultivation. The agreement with the grower is made to cover several years, but it is adjusted, among other things as to price and the amount of berries, each year, The buyer's representative approves the plantation and decides which cultivar is to be grown, The buyer also supplies the grower with plant material. Usually