Gallery: Estonian strawberry prices up sevenfold to €15 per kilo

A kilogram of fresh domestic Estonian strawberries cost €15 at Tallinn's Central Market on Monday, over seven times more than the June 2021 average of €2.12 per kilogram.

It's mid-June already, but it still isn't easy to find Estonian strawberries. Just one counter at Tallinn's Central Market was selling Asia variety strawberries, and at a price of €15 per kilo. These berries, grown under a cover, came from Lätte Farm in Tartu County, which sells its produce primarily to Tallinn and Tartu.
Lätte Farm CEO Viljar Varrik told ERR that they began harvesting two days ago, and that their yield is increasing daily.

"We wouldn't be seeing such a deficit of local strawberries if more growers would take the trouble to grow their berries under covers," Varrik said.

Kärt Karhunen of Tartu County's Lemmatu Berry Farm said that their berry harvest has even been doing relatively well. While some strawberry blossoms fell prey to a cool spring and berries were late to ripen, they began harvesting berries of the early Flair variety on May 20.

Lemmatu Berry Farm is currently selling their early strawberries on site at the farm for €10 per kilo; last week, they cost €14.

According to Karhunen, they increase their prices in accordance with inflation; the weather isn't that influential of a factor. At the same time, strawberries are a seasonal good, and thus difficult to forecast. If the weather is favorable and there are a lot of berries, the price drops as well.

Cucumbers and potatoes

Other Estonian produce has gotten more expensive as well. As of the last week of May, potatoes cost €0.36 per kilogram, and long cucumbers run €1.99 per kilo. A year earlier, they cost €0.17 and €1.95 per kilo, respectively.

Over the past weekend, new Estonian potatoes cost €6.50-12 per kilogram at markets in Tallinn.

Just one seller at Tallinn's Baltic Station Market (Balti jaama turg) was offering Estonian short cucumbers on Monday, at a cost of €5.99 per kilo.

"The further along into summer, the more the price of cucumbers will fall, but strawberries sure aren't ripe yet," the seller said.

No Estonian cucumbers were on offer at the Central Market.

Raivo Külasepp, CEO of Grüne Fee Eesti, Estonia's biggest cucumber producer, said that the energy crisis is the source of problems. "Consumers' wallets have grown, our inputs have increased 60-80 percent," he said.

But Estonia is not alone in its suffering. "Other countries are having the same issues, they have excess production and that is sold here to Estonia," Külasepp explained.

Grüne Fee does not yet have specific energy crisis plans in place, as the current situation is new and unpredictable. Thus, their action plan is being drawn up as they go.

"Ultimately, it will be the consumer who dictates the market situation," Külasepp said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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