Ravnsborg farm

by admin on 05/06/2009

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Ravnsborg farm is Norway’s largest herb nursery. It’s located in Hvalstad about 10 km west of Oslo and it’s just a few minutes walk from Hvalstad train station.

I was met by Mona who mentioned interest for together with love and care for the work in order to succeed as a herb producer. They sell mainly to restaurants and institutional households, but their products are also sold at Ultra shops. Like all small scale producers, they are striving to get their products sold in the main supermarket chains, but unfortunately without succeeding so far.

After having had a short chat in the canteen, I was shown around by Jan Tore who founded the nursery in 1990. After having bought turf and seeds from importers in Norway, small plastic pots are filled with turf and then one seed is placed in each pot. Thereafter, they are brought to the seeding greenhouse where the plants are spending the first weeks of their lives. After having grown some time, they are freighted on a conveyor belt to one of the 5 greenhouses for further growth and in the end, sales.

Walking around the greenhouses of Ravnsborg is an experience in green since the herbs are located on large tables where they form green “carpets” from wall to wall of the greenhouses. The exception is red basil which looks more or less violet. Walking around all the greenhouses with tasting of diverse herbs was a tasteful and positive experience.

What surprised me while being shown around by Jan Tore was that the temperature was so comfortable. I really think that it was much hotter and more humid when I worked for Hafskjold in Lier about 30 years ago. On the other hand, remembering temperatures about 30 years ago is no easy business.

Ravnsborg farm is using artificial fertilisers and don’t do organic farming. Jan Tore told me that using cow dung as fertiliser would easily lead to that the herbs would be contaminated with E coli and inherent diarrhea for those eating the herbs. I have no intention of contradicting him. Else, they buy small packets of insects which they place on some of the herbs. These insects in turn eat insects which would have eaten the herbs.

Among the selection of herbs at Ravnsborg, I mention the following:

  • basil
  • estragon
  • chive
  • coriander
  • common lavender
  • oregano
  • sage
  • thyme

If you want to enhance the flavour of food or make a herb tea or try to cure a disease, you have come to the right place. Herbs have been used for all these purposes for generations.

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