At the food truck arena at Skördefest Tjolöholmslott 2023, Sweden.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro & , JE Nilsson 2023

The late summer warmth was still noticeable as I walked through the grounds of Tjolöholmslott, also known as Tjolöholm Castle, during the Skördefest, or Harvest Festival of 2023.

The castle grounds have extensive gravel paths, reminiscent of times of horse carriages. As I walked, the display of early 1900 tractors and 1800s horse carriages gave a sense of the region’s agricultural history.

This year, the festival grounds seamlessly integrated four distinct sections: dedicated play areas for children, a vibrant raw produce market, an exhibition showcasing artisan equipment, and a dining area offering both indoor and outdoor seating options.

The festival had four sections. A distinct children’s play area, that had inflatable trampolines that even I was tempted to have a go at because it looked so fun with everyone bouncing around; a produce market that had for sale, the abundance of this year’s harvest, notably beets, carrots, cauliflower and more; an exhibition of artisan equipment, from garden decorations to straw woven hats that you can use whilst gardening; and a dining area with indoor and outdoor seating.

I think my favourite feature was the Exhibitor Spotlight on Magasinsbyggnaden that housed the produce market. The building looks like a previous barnyard or carriage storehouse now turned into a marketplace with produce and crafts. I spent some time here speaking with producers and sellers of various harvest goods including locally produce honey.

I found out that honey exhibits remarkable seasonal variations based on the changing floral sources available to bees throughout the year. Spring honey might capture the delicate essences of early-blooming flowers, resulting in a lighter color and milder flavor. In contrast, summer and fall honeys might derive from a diverse mix of flowers, leading to a darker hue and a more robust, complex taste. By buying local honey, we can directly support regional beekeepers who, in turn, maintain bee populations vital for pollination. Bees play an indispensable role in the life cycle of many plants, ensuring the production of fruits, seeds, and more. This pollination process is crucial for the biodiversity of local ecosystems, as it helps in the propagation and survival of various plant species.

After the market round, we were able to sit and get some drinks. The main café had the usual offerings of Swedish baked treats such as cinnamon rolls, coconut covered chocolate balls and princesstårta, a vanilla cream and raspberry filled cake covered in marzipan.

A casual glance across the festival revealed an eclectic mix of visitors. Although there was a palpable diversity, families, especially those with children, seemed to be in the majority. The vast green fields of Tjolöholmslott bore witness to young ones savoring ice creams in one hand and cakes in the other, while the adults engaged in animated conversations, all against the magnificent backdrop of the historic castle.