With the latest reports on climate change painting a grim picture, it’s past time to take action. One of the best ways an individual can take a stand is by being a conscious consumer. While it is obviously impossible for everything you use to be sourced and made locally, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few star products or businesses that you can feel good about consuming.
[Note: We of course know that impetus should be on corporations and governments to implement wide scale change and regulations to combat climate change and that personal responsibility on an individual is not the answer, that said, we can all do our part.]
Tea, whiskey and… wasabi?
If you’re looking to warm up with a cup of tea on a grey day, Hafnarfjörður’s Urta tea company has you covered. Using local, native herbs like arctic thyme, sweet cicely and Icelandic moss, Urta offers unique tea blends to suit all your needs. They also produce versatile syrups, salt blends, jams and other products made from herbs and berries that thrive in Icelandic nature.
Urta Tea is available in Grapevine Store here.
On the alcohol front, Eimverk Distillery has been producing Iceland’s first and only whiskey, Flóki, since 2009. Using 100% homegrown barley, this family-run distillery harnesses tradition to produce spirits that are in a league of their own — and purely Icelandic. Be sure to try their sheep-dung smoked reserves for a new take on a long-held custom. If gin is what you’re after, they also have small batch gins infused with native botanicals like juniper, rhubarb, kelp and birch. Of course they also produce a line of Brennivín, Iceland’s signature spirit.
But what if you’re looking for a unique gift? Well, adorning the dishes of restaurants all over town, Nordic Wasabi, the flagship product from Jurt Hydroponics, brings fresh, authentic wasabi to dinner tables across Iceland—and Europe. Yes, Iceland-grown wasabi is a real thing. And trust us, this is nothing like the globs of western wasabi (which is mostly horseradish and food colouring) you find alongside your supermarket sushi, this fresh wasabi is delivered to your door within 48 hours of harvest for you to grate into a paste yourself. For a product that’s intended to stimulate your palate, why would you settle for anything less?
Lotion, salt, produce & wool
Sóley is an organic skincare company made in Iceland, using fresh spring water and all the best natural ingredients the island has to offer. Wild herbs are harvested every summer from Southern Iceland and transformed into the shampoos, balms, masks and other self-care necessities their customers adore. We’d particularly recommend their GRÆÐIR healing balm and VARMI shampoo. If you want to elevate your environmental efforts, hold on to your spent bottles to have them refilled with Sóley goodness at Vonarstræti on Laugavegur.
Sóley products are available in Grapevine store.
For you salty readers, sustainability is what it’s all about at Norður & Co. Utilising geothermal energy, the team creates award-winning arctic sea salt flakes and other organic products that leave no environmental impact. Produced on Karlsey island in the Westfjords, they deliver products as multifaceted as Iceland itself. If you’re new to town, add a pinch of the Liquorice Sea Salt to any dessert and impress all your newfound Icelandic friends while you’re at it.
Norður salt is available in Grapevine store.
One of the pillars of Icelandic sustainability, Sólheimar has been practicing what they preach for over 90 years. Located in the countryside outside Selfoss, this sustainable community was a forerunner of organic farming in the Nordics. You can pick up one-of-a-kind handicrafts or take a trip out to the farm and purchase all manner of fresh produce and other organic products. You can even stay the night at one of their guest houses. Either way—you’re keeping your carbon footprint small.
But, of course, you can’t talk about locally-made products without mentioning Icelandic wool. Iceland is well known for its lopapeysa—those famous wool sweaters—but you’d probably be surprised to know that many companies don’t produce their sweaters in Iceland, and some don’t even use Icelandic wool. That said, you can always trust the Handknitting Association Of Iceland. Every single piece they offer is made using 100% Icelandic wool, knitted by hand in the country. They are also cosy, gorgeous and the perfect thing to show off to your fast-fashion-obsessed friends back home to prove that local production can be just as good as the big ones. Wool Sweater from Handknitting Association are available in Grapevine store here.
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