Although this past summer did not see an abundance of berries, owing to the long heatwave, the weather didn't appear to affect the incomes of foreign berry pickers' earnings. In Lapland, there was a good blueberry yield this year even though expectations were otherwise.
”Western, central, and eastern Finland had a poor blueberry yield, but further north the situation was much better and berry pickers earned well,” says Kåre Björkstrand, export manager for Marja Bothnia Berries, a firm based in western Finland's region of Ostrobothnia.
Another company, Polarica Marja, in Lapland, says the top berry pickers earned up to 14,000 euros during the season. The two berry firms have agreed that foreign pickers must earn at least 30 euros a day after expenses.
Marja Bothnia Berries brought 450 berry pickers from Thailand to Finland, while Polarica Marja brought in 600 Thai pickers.
Drought affected south
The blueberry yield this summer was best in Lapland, says researcher Rainer Peltola from the Natural Resources Institute of Finland.
In July, when foreign berry pickers arrived in Finland there was still concern about whether there would be enough berries to be picked in the north as the forecast for Lapland looked weak at the start of the season.
Yet the situation turned around so that this summer’s heatwave affected southern Finland more than Lapland. Polarica’s Jukka Kristo says that the best berry yield was in Eastern Lapland, specifically for blueberries and cloudberries, known as "Lapland's gold."
In contrast, the lingonberry season has been poor, almost the worst in a decade. According to Bothnia Berries' Björkstrand, the company picked very few lingonberries this year.