Photographer and farmer Finn Dale Iversen and Evelyn Romer Iversen are the two friendly faces behind the entire operation at the biodynamic farm at Bergsmyrene. The farm has been in Finn’s hands for over 30 years now, taking it from conventionally farmed land growing only crop, to a fully biodynamical and diverse farm. Today, they supply most of their produce locally.
Elizabeth Brockfield has been a key person in the increasingly vibrant and exciting organic food movement in and around Oslo. You may have seen her around at the Øya festival, where she has been heading the food development and planning since 2005, making sure that the hungry festival goers have access to organic and locally sourced meals. Now taking it a step further, Elizabeth is working with the project ØQ, aiming to make organic produce broadly available in institutional kitchens and restaurants in Norway. She is also the kitchen alibi and owner of Den Andre Caféen, serving up honest, locally sourced food, mostly organic, based on whatever good the season has to offer. We were lucky to have us with her this evening.
Upon arriving at Bergsmyrene gård, the guests were met with a freshly brewed cup of Finca Tamana from Norwegian coffee roaster Tim Wendelboe, ‘Peiskos’ tea from Aukrust in Lom, followed by a snack of traditional crisp bread with hummous and ramson pesto. The evening was devoted to learning more about two things; urban farming and sustainable cooking, and the guests were divided into two groups, allowing them to learn more about the thing they’re more interested in. The urban farming group went with Finn into the surrounding woods, to pick nettles, ground elder and wild garlic, followed by a session of folding simple flower pots out of newspaper with the Eva of Growlab, a platform for sharing and developing new urban food culture. Afterwards, they planted seeds from Bergsmyrene for everyone to bring home – chilies, herbs and many others.
The food we prepared at Bergsmyrene were more or less based on the seasonal produce east of Norway has to offer right now, as well as other organic ingredients like organic dairy from Røros and vegetable oil from Germany. Thinking season is exciting. What is available around us, naturally, at the moment? What has kept well in the cellar through the long, cold winter – what has already sprouted from the ground? What kind of flavors has Hurum, to offer in early April this year?
The meat we used was meant as almost a spice we add to the vegetables, grains and fruit, which are the real centre points of the menu. Balance and the interplay of textures, tastes, smells and colors make the palate change from season to season, and we can always rejoice in the unique produce the nature has to offer right now. To devote more thought to the raw materials and where they come from makes sence – how and where is the food produced, and how does one of these taste now versus later in the year?
- Nettle soup and ground elder (skvallerkål), roasted barley and roll spins with bacon and wild garlic pesto with sunflower seeds
- Beet patties of raw vegetables with wild garlic mayonnaise, ground elder salad and potato wedges
- Honey and butter-toasted oatmeal with plums from Hengsenga and cream
For most people, the hardest thing about starting to eat more sustainably is linked to the sheer knowledge of where to get what. As a result of this, we wanted to list where we sourced the produce we used during the course:
- Bergsmyrene gård: nettle, ground elder, garlic, eggs, onions, beet root
- Oslo Kooperativ: beets, cabbage, potatoes from Fokhol, carrots, summer honey
- Meny: goats cheese from Lofoten gårdsysteri and bacon from Grøstad
- Røtter: skjørost, barley, dairy from Røros, oatmeal from Salta Kvärn, apple cider vinegar from Voelkel, yeast-free bouillon cubes from Naturata
- Vinmonopolet: white wine from Meinklang, via Non Dos
- Kiwi: fresh yeast, organic wheat flour from Møllerens, vegetable oil and sunflower seeds from GoEco
All recipes feed 4-5 people
400 g nettle
250 g onions
0.5 dl white wine
9 cups water
1 tablespoon broth
3 dl cream
Chop and gently fry the onion. Add the nettles and sauté until it has “collapsed”. Add white wine and bring to a boil for three minutes. Add the broth and water and cook for about 20 min.
Blend the soup and add cream. Season with salt.
Serve with barley and bacon rolls
Roasted pearl oats / barley
Boil the grains according to instructions on the package. Stir in oil, some salt and additional pieces of onion. Spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 180 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, until lightly golden.
2.5 dl water, lukewarm
25 g yeast
0.5 dl oil
6 dl flour
0.6 kg bacon
Mix the ingredients for the dough and let it rise for about 30-40 min. Roll out into a large rectangular shape. Spread butter, herbs and bits of bacon out on the ladle. Roll up as for cinnamon rolls, slice into separate buns and place on baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 220 degrees for about 10 min.
Raw food mayonnaise with wild garlic
2 egg yolks – whipped together with 4-5 dl oil for mayonnaise
0.5 tsp salt
400 g grated root vegetables and chopped cabbage
50 g baked onions
Mix together raw vegetables with salt, wild garlic, apple jam and baked onions. Add the mayonnaise just before serving and season with salt and wild garlic.
400 g beetroot, grated
200 g root vegetables, grated
200 g oatmeal
2,5 dl oil
100 g chopped cheese
Mix ingredients together and work the dough with your hands for a few minutes. When oatmeal binds the juice of the beets, shape patties half the size of your palm and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake in the oven at about 225 degrees for about 15 min.
Potato wedges with herbs and baked garlic
500 g potatoes into wedges
5 cloves of fresh garlic
Boil the potatoes until lightly tender. Melt the butter and add the garlic cut into quarters and herbs. Cut the potatoes in half and pour the butter over. Place in oven on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 225 degrees for about 20 min.
Honey-toasted oatmeal with plums and cream of skjørost
2.5 dl oatmeal
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
Melt butter, then add honey and mix until fully combined. Add oatmeal and fry gently on low heat, until golden. Allow to cool.
Serve with lightly whipped cream mixed with skjørost (can be replaced with cottage cheese) and berries or fruit.
Photos by Finn Iversen
Text by Cecilie Dawes and Elizabeth Brockfield.