Finnish peas are an internationally renowned product - Apetit acquires a new pea harvester and has a record number of farming hectares
Apetit Plc, press release 2 July 2020 at 10.00 a.m.
Finnish-grown peas are a valuable product, that requires everything to go according to plan during cultivation. Internationally renowned Finnish peas get their flavour from the long and bright summer days and are exported, for example, to Italy. A high-quality pea is small, sweet and has a soft texture. Apetit is the largest producer of frozen peas in Finland - this year the company has a record number of farming hectares. Pea farming requires expertise, precise timing and close monitoring during growing season.
“We choose varieties and plan the sowing carefully, so that the peas are ready for harvest at the right time and at their prime. We also test out new varieties every year to find out, if they are suitable for cultivation”, says Apetit’s Procurement manager Gunta Cirule.
Peas thrive in gentle summer weather as they ripen into a tasty product at the right pace. This year the cold and humid weather in May slowed down the sowing. At the end of June, the weather took a turn to sweltering heat.
“Hot weather brings challenges, because peas ripen much too quickly. Our cultivation team monitors the fields and assesses growth and the weather throughout the growing season”, says Gunta Cirule.
Harvest is currently set to begin in mid-July, and it usually takes about a month to complete. During this time harvesters work in the fields day and night.
Pea harvester separates peas from the pods in the field - new harvester is ready for action
There are only four pea harvesters in Finland - all owned by Apetit. The newest pea harvester arrived at Rauma harbour after Midsummer, from where it was then taken to its new home at the Räpi experimental farm in Säkylä, Köyliö. This new acquirement enables Apetit to retire its oldest machine to serve as a back up.
“With a top speed of under 30 km/h, the short distance from the harbour to Räpi took us about two and a half hours. It was a test drive to find out any possible issues with the machine. After a successful test drive the harvester is ready to take up its duties”, says Farming expert Matti Perttu, who supervises the pea harvest.
The harvest technique used in these machines has remained unchanged for decades, but they have advanced in other aspects. Technology, such as touch screens has become a feature, and location information is used to monitor harvester’s actions and whereabouts.
Harvester picks up peas with its prongs and separates them from the pods right there at the field. A mass of peas rolling around in the harvester’s large drum causes a pressure, that enables the pods to twist open and release the peas.
“During harvest we work in to shifts around the clock, because the peas cannot wait. Members of the harvest team are professionals - two of them have harvest experience from over thirty years”, says Perttu.
From field to table in under two hours
The peas are transferred in large trucks straight to Apetit’s frozen food factory in Säkylä - all this in under two hours. It is of utmost importance, that the peas are taken from the fields to freezer quickly, in order to maintain their nutritional value. Säkylä frozen food factory processes about 200 000 kilos of peas in 24 hours.
Peas journey from field to Finnish and international tables is eventful and requires many people’s valuable know-how. Finnish-grown peas are a marvellous product of Summer season, and when frozen its fresh flavour can be enjoyed throughout the year.
For further information, please contact:
Sanna Väisänen, Director, Corporate Communications and Sustainability, tel. +358 10 402 4041
Apetit is a food industry company firmly rooted in Finnish primary production. Our operations are based on a unique value chain: we create well-being with vegetables by offering healthy and tasty food solutions that make daily life easier. We also produce high-quality vegetable oils and rapeseed expellers for feeding stuff, and trade grain on the international markets. Apetit Plc's shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. In 2019, Apetit Group's net sales were EUR 313 million. Read more at apetit.fi.