The 2022 Farmer of the Year Award was given to Veiko Pak of Kadarbiku Farm, located in Tuula Village of the Saue Municipality in Harju County. Consumers are most familiar with Kadarbiku homegrown vegetable juices and smoothies.
Veiko Pak, the owner of Kadarbiku Vegetable Farm, runs a vegetable farming and processing business that has been in operation for three decades.
Veiko's farther Ants did not inherit post-Soviet sovkhoz land, but began his business on three hectares of ground from scratch.
"My father put us in the spotlight. He was eager to begin this vegetable growing business, and it was a natural development from there - our help was needed, so my brother and I stayed," Pak said.
Kadarbiku farm is now primarily known as a producer of vegetable juices and smoothies. There is already a third generation working there. Only Ants was an agronomist; the others had never studied agriculture before.
"It didn't happen by accident and it wasn't exactly planned, but I've gotten into the family business," Lisli Pak, the purchasing manager of Kadarbiku Vegetables, said.
The the bronze sower award is a homage not just to Veiko's labor, but also to the entire Pak family, who have devoted the previous three decades to the cultivation and production of vegetables.
"It is because of them that people in Estonia have learned to drink carrot juice," Roomet Sõrmus, the chair of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce (EPKK), said.
The company employs 70 locals in Kadarbiku year-round and a few dozen seasonal workers during the summer season.
They have today 250 hectors of own arable land and about 700 hectors of land in use for growing carrots, cabbages, beetroot and other summer vegetables.
Estonian farmers are far away from the so-called Vargamäe troubles, described by Anton Hansen Tammsaare, the late 19th century author, as a never-ending struggle of farmers with the soil in harsh living conditions, untamed nature and vindictive neighbors.
However, even in 1990s when Ants started his business life was very different. "In 1995, when we arrived at the Keila station, we hired 100 people instantly due to the lack of available work. Everyone nowadays has a job, a career and social security," Veiko Pak said.
This year's bronze sower is in Kadarbik now. It took some time, but it finally arrived. "At first Ants applied for the bronze sower, then Ville did, and finally it arrived in our house," Veiko Pak said.
Editor: Kristina Kersa