TCF member visits Icelandic greenhouse operation

    TCF member visits Icelandic greenhouse operation

    Chicago Farmers’ member Marilyn Mayer and her daughter, Hillary, visited Iceland over Thanksgiving last fall and they found the country beautiful, enthralling and full of agricultural surprises.

    “We visited Fridheimar Greenhouse, which grows tomatoes all year in a charming family run operation,” related Marilyn.  “It can do so because of the extensive geothermal advantages of Iceland.  With 130 volcanoes and vast quantities of underground heated water, greenhouses are a breeze.”

    Marilyn continued, “Green energy, pure water and organic pest control are the Icelandic standards.  Geothermal water flows into the greenhouses at 203 degrees Fahrenheit, and sunlight is maximized by glass panes only 4mm thick—with hot water compensating for the heat loss.  Hydro and geothermal power plants produce the additional electricity that is needed.  Photosynthesis is enhanced by using carbon dioxide produced from natural geothermal steam.  And ‘boxes of bees,’ imported from Holland, finish the job with pollination.”

    Marilyn said that a little café within the greenhouse lets visitors enjoy soup made from the tomatoes, and salads composed of greens, basil and cucumbers that also are grown in the greenhouse. 

    “We found the greenhouse experience to be a magical oasis in the cool climate of Iceland,” Marilyn said.  “And after our soup, we were able to go off to the Blue Lagoon spa not far away and actually swim outdoors in a geothermal pool, although the outside temperature was only 18 degrees Fahrenheit.  Overhead, the Northern Lights ‘came on’ to shower the sky with eerie green waves and darting white streaks.  A magical country indeed!”

    Photos 1:
    Exterior view of the greenhouse in Iceland.

    Photo 2:
    Tomatoes growing in the greenhouse in Iceland this past fall. 

    Photo 3:
    One of the beehives purchased for the greenhouse from Holland.

    Picture 4:
    Marilyn Mayer, right, and her daughter, Hillary.