This summer foreign berry pickers are again sparking debate in Finland, though few Finns are willing to do the sweaty work.
For the past several weeks, the Arctic Flavours Association, which represents berry companies, has attempted to attract domestic pickers with a special campaign. So far, a total of three Finns have signed up.
"It’s disappointing. We wanted to organise a prize draw for the first 100 signing up," says Simo Moisio, the association’s director.
According to Moisio, Finnish households today only pick berries for personal consumption. Widespread commercial berry picking in Finland's forests has faded into history along with our foraging ancestors. Moisio says young people are not the least interested in harvesting the forests’ bounty.
”We had our own pickers for a longer time than Sweden, where locals tired of it decades ago,” explains Moisio.
The latest criticism directed at foreign berry pickers relates to their working methods in Repovesi National Park in the south-east. Locals say the pickers have accidentally ripped up sprigs when getting at the bush berries and left litter behind.