Hands holding berries in a cup

Foraging is one of the most popular hobbies in Finland

If you wondered why the village of Koskenkorva became up with a foraged Koskenkorva Vodka, you don’t need to go far to look for the reason. Statistics show that foraging is one the most popular hobbies among Finns.

A Finnish study by The Natural Resources Institute Finland shows that 66 percent of Finnish people go foraging at least once a year. The most popular is berry-picking: 57 percent of Finns pick up bilberries, lingonberries, cranberries or cloudberries every year. That is more than every second person you would come across walking in the streets of Helsinki!

There is surprisingly little variation in the rates between cities and countryside – as well as between age groups. 42% of the 15-24 year old Finns have gone foraging during the past year, said the study.

Among the Nordic countries, the Finns are the most diligent foragers.

Bilberry close up

A natural bilberry, also known as blueberry in Finland. Natural bilberries are small and full taste.

Everyman’s right grants the permissions for foraging

Historically, foraging has been a tradition in the Nordic countries. The vast forests and un-inhabited areas guarantee that there is plenty of berries, herbs and mushrooms for everyone. In Finland the so called “everyman’s right” protects everybody’s right to go foraging everywhere in Finland, excluding just family yards and protected nature reserves. In practice, it would be allowed to go pick berries even on land that belongs to the president of Finland, as long as you keep away from his courtyard.

Person collecting berries

The best time to go foraging in the Nordics in in the autumn.

Forest berries and herbs are nutritional treats of the new millennia

As wildfood and superfood ingredients have become trendy, the popularity of foraging has grown alike. Forest berries are full of nutritional elements and they grow up organically on their own. In addition to the traditional berries, herbs and plants such as nettle, dandelions and hop are among local sources of nutrition.

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