Where are your products produced and packaged? What does Polarica do to ensure foreign berry pickers get on well during their stay in the Nordic forests? Here you can find some of the frequently asked questions with our answers.
Did you have more questions for us? Please send your questions to us with the form on the contact us page, and we’ll answer you soon!
Cultivated organic berries are produced without use of chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Wild organic berries can only be picked from certified organic collection areas.
Not all wild berries can be labelled organic. The key requirement is that no chemical fertilisers or pesticides have been used in the picking areas over the previous three years. In practise, that means e.g. certain distance from roads and fields.
The largest organic collection areas in Finland and Sweden are situated in the regions of Lapland.
Polarica carries out packaging at two of its production facilities: Haparanda, Sweden and Swidwin, Poland. Both of these facilities are situated near the raw materials they process, and logistically with short distance to our Nordic customers.
In Haparanda, Sweden, we package all berries of Swedish and Finnish origin: bilberries, lingonberries and cloudberries. In Swidwin, Poland, we have a wide assortment of over 20 different berries and fruits. We can process some packaging types, e.g. reclosable plastic bags, only in our Polish production facility.
We are continuously developing our processes to be more environmentally friendly and logistically efficient. In 2017, we have increased our production capacity in Haparanda for packaging Swedish and Finnish berries.
The KRAV standards fulfil the EU regulation for organic production (EC) No 834/2007.
Even in forests there is some prevention against insect pests. Areas that are KRAV approved should not be sprayed with pesticides or fertilized within the last three years. Also, berry picking is not allowed the next three years after tree planting, because the tree plants might be treated with chemical agents. A KRAV approved area must not be too close to a busy road or other source of pollution. Picking wild berries at a KRAV approved area should not affect negatively the lifes of landowners and people living nearby (Polarica’s business should never do that).
There are also specific requirements for traceability, documentation and social responsibility, e.g. rate of wages according to collective agreements and unorganized, free pickers are not hired.
We have a management system called Responsible business that includes an operating model for responsible berry picking. The objective of this operating model is to ensure the Thai berry pickers we invite to Sweden and Finland get on well during their stay.
We offer the Thai berry pickers information already before they arrive to the Nordic countries, during their stay and at the end of the berry picking season, in the form of surveys and feedback discussions. We carry out reviews at their camp and provide them with a manual in Thai language and other material related to berry picking. We also carry out inspections to our subcontractors’ operations. We ensure the berry pickers are provided room and board and a minimum wage. Our personnel who know the forests well support the pickers in finding plenty of harvest.
When everyone acts responsibly and follows the rules, problems shouldn’t arise. The berry industry only uses about 5% of the wild berries in the Nordic forests.
The everyman’s right in Sweden and Finland is one of the greatest rights in the Nordic countries, as it guarantees everyone an equal chance to enjoy our beautiful nature. These rights should be treasured and protected for them to last also in the future.
We arrange training about everyman’s rights and duties to every Thai berry picker we’ve invited here, for them to understand the guidelines. It’s important that everyone abides by the rules.
We want to provide you the best possible berries. We believe, naturally, that world’s best bilberries, lingonberries and cloudberries come from Swedish and Finnish forests. In the case of e.g. strawberries and raspberries, most of the Nordic yield is sold as fresh berries, so there’s not enough supply for frozen berry production. That is why our assortment also includes foreign organic berries.
Cultivating Polarica’s organic strawberries, for example, would be very challenging in the Nordic climate. For the berries to grow large enough in the cold climate, the plants would need fertilisers, which are not allowed in organic cultivation.