Food Per Modig is one of the organic farmers working together with Nordisk Råvara, which supplies ARKET café with naturally grown peas, lentils and quinoa. We use these ingredients as the base for our seasonal vegetarian and vegan salads and for making our signature Nordic hummus.
Born and raised on the farm, Per Modig and his brother took over the family business in 2005 and have since converted all fields to organic cultivation. They now grow a multitude of different beans, peas, lentils, heritage grains, ‘Nordic quinoa’ and root vegetables on a total of 160 hectares in the Scania region of southern Sweden.
‘The number one benefit of organic farming is that we can avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Pesticides kill insects and micro-organisms, which leads to biodiversity loss, and artificial fertilisers have a huge climate impact as they are a major source of greenhouse gases and produced with fossil energy,’ Per Modig says.
Instead of using chemical fertilisers, the plants themselves help enrich and replenish the soils by pulling nitrogen and carbon from the atmosphere down into the earth. Cover crops such as grass and clover are grown in-between harvests to keep the surface green and promote soil structure, preventing valuable nutrients from being washed away.
By co-planting a variety of crops and rotating them between different fields – peas or lentils in one season, then potatoes and carrots, rapeseeds or grains, or clover, grass and a variety of flowers – the soils stay healthy and maintain a natural balance of nutrients. It’s also a method for naturally preventing weeds and plant diseases from spreading in the fields.
The organic peas, lentils and quinoa we are using in the ARKET café are traditional varieties which produce lower yields than modern industrial ones. With lower yields, each plant can take up more nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) from the soil which not only makes them healthier for our bodies but also results in a richer and more complex taste.