Sunday 15 July 2012

Quintessentially Danish

Summer may not yet have appeared in its most desirable form, but certain staples of Danish summer never fail to appear regardless of the rain that seems to be plaguing Europe these days.

As followers of all things Aarstiderne will have realised by now, one of the company's goals is to strengthen the power of local growers everywhere and in Denmark in particular. Supporting local growers not only helps their economies but also shows them that we appreciate the hard work, care and thought that they put into their products on a daily basis. As in most things in life, a show of appreciation results in motivation to do better, to constantly improve, which in turn results in even better produce for all. A perfect win win if ever there was one.

If you decide to brave the elements this summer and drive out into the Danish countryside you will most certainly pass by small roadside stalls where local growers big and small - usually small - offer their freshly picked and harvested fruits and vegetables - a fun sight evoking simpler times. But what makes this a uniquely Danish experience are the small money boxes which can take the form of anything from shoe- and cigar boxes to proper money boxes set out right there with the produce and next to signs kindly asking that you place the 15 or 20 kr in the box. And the truly marvelous part..... the stands.....they are unmanned. The grower simply trusts that the buyer will put the correct amount in the box. A system based on trust, now there's a novel idea.

On Fyn (Funen), where I like to spend my summer, these stands are everywhere. I do miss my Aarstiderne boxes, but I try to make up for them by buying my strawberries, potatoes, asparagus, onions, cherries, raspberries at these fun - often homemade - stands. I just have to make sure I always have plenty of change in my pocket as I suspect it will be a while before the stands offer a credit card option.

(Isabella Mousavizadeh Smith)

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