We visited Friðheimar just outside of Reykholt in South Iceland while we were on the “Golden circle” drive. Friðheimar is a vegetable farm where their main product is tomatoes. The tomatoes in Iceland are red and juicy owing to the volcanic rich soil, we saw a lot of people munching on them like apples. When we were seated at our tables, one of the staff at Friðheimar greeted us and told us a little bit about the greenhouse and how they grow tomatoes all year round, despite Iceland’s long, dark winters, under artificial lighting in greenhouse. The greenhouse was designed and developed with the collaboration of Finnish experts since horticulture under artificial lighting is highly advanced in Finland.
The farm has abundant supplies of geothermal water, which provides heat to the greenhouses. Friðheimar uses green energy and organic pesticides and since Iceland does not have honeybees to pollinate the flowers, they bring them from Holland. We learnt during our visit, that Friðheimar holds about 18% of the whole local tomato market in Iceland. In the nursery greenhouse, seeds are planted, and the plants grow in pots for there the first six weeks, with automated watering. When the plants are transplanted into the greenhouse they are flowering on the first truss, and seven to eight weeks later the first tomatoes blush red. Walking around the greenhouse, we saw tomatoes in different stages of ripeness and also few different varies like plum tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes.
Friðheimar have opened up their greenhouses to visitors and offer delicious lunches every day between 12:00 and 16:00 where there are tomatoes is almost every dish including the water. We tried their wonderful Bloody Mary with Icelandic vodka and also a Healthy Mary, a non alcoholic version made from green tomatoes, lime, honey and ginger, served chilled with sparkling water.
We were there rather late almost before they closed for lunch but still the bread was fresh and soup yummy. We had the tomato soup, their specialty, and a variety of home made bread and really fresh and tangy cucumber salsa. The kids had the tortellini pasta stuffed with fresh pesto and cooked in a tomato sauce. It was all delicious and the fact we were sitting outside a bright greenhouse where the tomatoes were grown made the experience extra special. We didn’t save room for dessert but they had some interesting ones like – Home made tomato ice cream à la Friðheimar, cheesecake with jam of green-tomato, cinnamon and lime and Green-tomato and apple pie all featuring tomatoes!
We ran into Knútur, the owner of this neat little Greenhouse on our way out.
There is a Little Tomato Shop next to the Atrium, that sells edible souvenirs and other specialties you might have fell in love with. Friðheimar also has an online shop where you can buy their famous cucumber salsa, tomato jam, picked tomatoes and various other tomato sauces and even some green tomato dessert sauce with vanilla.
A few more pictures from Friðheimar
You can find more information at their website and to schedule visits