Photo: The Norwegian Information Office for Fruit and Vegetables – Synøve Dreyer

Project Year 2016

Helping local berry producers

Simmering pots in the pilot plant of vegetables give off the fragrance of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom.

Nofima’s berry experts hold courses for local food producers in processing of fruits and berries. The producers can try out new recipes for juices, drinks, jams and jellies. They learn how different techniques affect flavour and texture, and how to retain most of the berries’ goodness when they are increasing their producing volumes.

The participants have the opportunity to experiment with different spices and amounts of sugar. The courses consist of theoretical and practical sections, and they can use different equipment and machines and decide which best suit their own purposes.

“They learn to use pure pectin instead of Certo. Pectin is found naturally in many fruits and berries, and the amount you need varies according to the kind of berry,” says Nofima scientist and course leader Berit Karoline Martinsen.

Utilizing surplus of fresh berries

Course participants include blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberry producers. Common to most is the goal of starting up or further developing their own processing, either in collaboration with other farmers or alone.

Søndre Elton farm grows strawberries on the banks of Lake Mjøsa. Until now, Anette and Børe Vold have concentrated on selling fresh berries – to wholesalers and directly on the farm.

“At the end of the day there are always some berries left, and I want to learn the art of making juice and jams, to avoid having to sell yesterday’s berries,” explains Anette Løvlien Vold.

Annette and her husband are building a new barn on the farm, to house a freezer and their own production facilities.

“It has been very helpful for me to learn about and see the different equipment in use, and not least to hear other people’s experiences and recommendations. I now know which machines we should go for and how to get going with production,” she says.

Processing knowledge to maintain freshness

Another producer that has benefited greatly from Nofima’s expertise is the father and son team Jan and Ørjan Johnsen of Lyngnes Farm in Randaberg. They grow grapes and apples, which they process to make fresh unsweetened juices. They see a growing potential for locally produced juice based on healthy ingredients.

“Local processing of own-grown produce is essential for our business to be profitable,” says Ørjan Johnsen.

Through the Competence Networks’ visit scheme and a Regional Innovation (VRI) project run by Rogaland County, Nofima scientists have helped them in their efforts to develop processing methods that take the best possible care of the fresh ingredients.

Raspberry beer and blueberry vinegar

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of knowledgeintensive questions from local food producers. Many want to create more complex products using their own produce, and they seek assistance with more ambitious processing methods such as fermentation,” says Stine Alm Hersleth, project manager for the competence network for local food in eastern Norway.

It is highly satisfying for Nofima’s experts to see more of the knowledge they generate through research projects directly benefiting local food producers. At the same time, contact with local producers enables the scientists to learn more about their research-based needs.

“There is great political willingness to invest in local food, and it is exciting to see that local food producers are becoming more adventurous and confident – and not least creating more added value,” concludes the Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale.



More useful research results