Lingonberry preserves are one of the most quintessentially Swedish pantry staples, and Hafi makes one of the best in the region. Sourced from Sweden’s wild and cold forests and hand-picked, it comes as no surprise that Hafi’s lingonberry preserves are some of the best we’ve ever tasted. Here, the great-grand-daughter of the founders tells Try The World about how it all started. Explore more of their delicious products now sold on our online shop!
Tell us a little about how Hafi began?
It was back in 1938 when my granddad met my grandmother. They fell in love and they wanted to do something together, so they started to press apples. My grandfather in law had the idea to have a cider house, so they opened a very small shop. They were running it for maybe 10 years during World War II. Even though Sweden did not participate in the war, these were very hard times because there was no sugar and fruit was scarce. But despite the challenges, my grandparents continued, and after the war, things were good. The company grew, and they started to make jams and syrups, and all kinds of things that you could make out of berries and fruits.
Your jam is delicious. Can you tell us about the making process?
Lingonberries grow up north and they’re picked by hand for three months at the end of summer. You can’t use a machine, so it has to be done by hand. Then you have to put them in the fridge. It’s faster to produce jam from fresh, but it’s better and healthier when they’re put in the refrigerator prior. Then we process them on the west coast of Sweden and make the jams.
It’s fascinating that Sweden authorizes that anyone can pick wild berries from the forests. How does that work?
In Sweden, we have something called allemansrätten: everybody can come to Sweden and pick berries, and mushrooms, and flowers, and camp outside. The forest is for everyone and it’s free for everyone to use nature. In Sweden, even if a person owns the forest, you’re allowed to be there and pick berries—but not hunt. It’s very wild, and almost no one lives there.
In addition to using wild berries, does Hafi abide by any other quality standards?
All forest berries are organic and certified by an organization called KRAV. Another organization called KIVA oversees the processes and distributes certificates for organic berries. We also go there ourselves to see that the pickers get their salaries and houses and uniforms when they pick. So we make sure they have gloves and masks and everything. It’s very important for us to know everything about the particular situation and oversee the picking season in forests. It’s what makes our preserves so good! It’s because the forest is untouched, and in the summer you have a midnight sun. You get long days and the berries get very tasty and full of vitamins.