Strawberry season

One thing you learn quickly about Sweden in the summer is that they are crazy and quite proud of their strawberries.
If Swedish strawberries are not ready by Midsommar (last week in June), the nation goes into a panic.  I’m not kidding, it will be the top headline in Swedish newspapers everywhere.  And in the weeks running up to Midsommar celebrations, the papers are filled with important, hard-hitting journalism like, “Will the strawberries be ready on time?” “Spring was late, what does that mean for the strawberries?”

If you are a foreigner to Sweden, you must know that you are not permitted to bring anything but Swedish strawberries to a Midsommar celebration.  Belgium, Spain, or anywhere else they were imported from will not work.  Swedes are normally polite, but during the summer, the first thing they will ask is, “Are those strawberries Swedish?”  Watch their faces crumple in disappointment if they aren’t.

Obviously, most of the fruit in Sweden has to be imported and that’s normally not a problem at all, but the Swedes have such a pride in the tastiness of their strawberries.  And I can’t blame them.  They honestly are amazing.  I’ve been a Swedish citizen for 10 years now.  As soon as they hand you the paper, things start to change.  You start listening to a lot of Abba.  You put lingonberries on your meat.  And most of all, you don’t allow anything but Swedish strawberries at Midsommar.  Traitors are not invited back to the celebration the next year.  Be warned!