100% of electricity and house-heating needs are met with renewables in Iceland.
Our tomatoes are cultivated all year round using the latest technology, in an environmentally-friendly way: green energy, pure water and organic pest controls combine to produce fresh, healthful tomatoes.
The greenest greenhouse
At Friðheimar, we produce up to two tons of tomatoes per day. Not all tomatoes picked from the plants are equally beautiful or the same size, but those that go to market must reach a specific classification as first-class tomatoes.
The others who end up in “second class” taste just as good but don’t have the looks! Scratched, too small, or misshapen tomatoes, about 5% of the total harvest, are used in our kitchen. There are so many things you can make from tomatoes, whether they are red or green.
When we replace the plants in the greenhouses, there are always some tomatoes that have not reached maturity to turn red, but we also use these lovely green tomatoes. Those are several tons per year. All this quantity goes into the kitchen, where we use it to make various delicacies for our restaurant and make food souvenirs we sell at the Little Tomato Shop. That way, we use the whole crop, so nothing is disposed of.
Iceland has been harvesting renewable energy for more than a century. It is now aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040.
The farm has abundant supplies of geothermal water, which provides heat to the greenhouses. The borehole is 200 m from the greenhouses and the water flows into them at about 95°C / 203°F. In order to maximise sunlight in the greenhouses, the glass panes are only 4 mm thick, so a huge amount of hot water is needed – about 100,000 tons per year! And the pure cold water used for irrigation is from the same source as the family’s own water supply.
Since tomatoes are about 90% water, the quality of irrigation water is very important. Iceland has abundant resources of “green” electricity from hydro and geothermal power plants, providing the artificial lighting necessary to grow the crops all year round at such a northerly latitude. And photosynthesis is enhanced by using carbon dioxide produced from natural geothermal steam.
The cold water we irrigate in the greenhouses is the same water we drink at home and serve to our guests in the restaurant. It comes from springs in Fljótsbotnar, the source of Tungufljót. Since tomatoes are about 90% water, the quality of the water the plant receives is essential. It is a valuable resource for us Icelanders to have access to excellent and abundant spring water for irrigation.