At Bjarteyjarsandur, we try to work in a way which promotes an ecological and sustainable way of life. We are respectful of nature and try to minimize the impacts we have on the surrounding environment. We inform our guests and customers about the different values of the area we live in and how to be respectful of them.
The farm shop is open daily from the 1st of May to the 31st of August from 11:00 to 16:00.
It is possible to book farm visits, meals, and other services, from the 1st of September to the 30th of April with 2 days’ notice.
Please note, that May is an extremely busy time at the farm due to lambing season. Therefore, during that period it is necessary to pre-book a Farm visit/Hug a lamb tour as walk-ins may be turned away.
Bjarteyjarsandur is a sheep farm with roughly 600 sheep. There are also other animals on the farm such as; Icelandic settlement hens, Border Collie dogs, Icelandic horses, rabbits, 2 feisty goats, and free range pigs during the summer time.
Bjarteyjarsandur farm is first and foremost a sheep farm so life is all about sheep! Icelandic sheep are the only sheep breed in Iceland. The isolation of Iceland allows for Icelandic sheep to be unlike any other sheep in the world. They are grouped as a Northern European short-tailed sheep and their short-tail allows for incredibly cute tail-wagging. The fleece of the Icelandic sheep is dual-coated and comes in white as well as a variety of other colours, including a range of browns, greys, and blacks. Shearing takes place in March and November when Bjarteyjarsandur Farmers offer guided tours around the sheep house, so you can experience shearing season for yourself.
Icelandic settlement hens
At Bjarteyjarsandur there are a few Icelandic chickens kept for sustainable egg production at the farm. If you stay a night, you are sure to hear one of the roosters crowing in the morning. These chickens were brought to Iceland in the ninth century by Norse settlers and were the only type of chickens in Iceland for over a thousand years afterwards. A breakfast omelette with eggs fresh from the farm is a great way to start your visit with us.
Two goats live at Bjarteyjarsandur farm, Ilmur and Björt. They originally came from the goat farm Háafell in Borgarfjörður. The goats don´t follow any rules and sometimes they leave their pen and visit our guests! Although our goats are kept in what should be their version of paradise with all the grass and wildflowers they can eat, their will to escape is as great as ever as they seem to prefer the taste of neighbouring garden plants or even smooth plastic tents! The surrounding fence is always being improved, so hopefully when you visit and meet our adorable and fat goats, the visit will take place in their pen on your accord and not as a surprise visit in the campsite!
Free-range pigs are hard to find in Iceland, however Bjarteyjarsandur Farm houses a few during the summer time. The farm initially started having free-range pigs on the farm as a part of a study, but we enjoyed it so much that we take 8–10 pigs every summer now. Pigs are lovely animals; curious, cute, and friendly. If you make your visit to Bjarteyjarsandur in the summer, you should definitely visit our pigs.
The kids at Bjarteyjarsandur farm love rabbits, so they breed a few to have as pets. They love the green grass, dandelion flowers, and wheat, so if you are around, you can feed them with their favourite and if you’re lucky, you may even be able to hold a dangerously cute baby rabbit. Rabbit meat isn’t typically eaten in Iceland so the rabbits and their babies here are sold only as pets.
There are only a few riding horses here at Bjarteyjarsandur Farm kept for the personal use of the farmers. However, they are beautiful horses and very worthwhile to see. The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland, making them extremely unique. Although the horses are small, and at times pony-sized, most Icelandic registries label them as horses. Icelandic horses are hardy, strong, and live long lives running in the gorgeous hilly countryside of Iceland.
Border Collie dogs
The Border Collie is a working and herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep. It was specifically bred for intelligence and obedience. At Bjarteyjarsandur there are 4 Border Collie dogs; Hróar, Snotra, Tindur and Skuggi. The dogs are extremely friendly and love to be pet. They are extremely smart and well-trained, so sheep herding is made a lot easier when you have them by your side.
Every farm has to have a cat, so we have two females, Gríma and Rúsína. Cats will always be cats so it is hard to say when they will grace guests with a visit. Rúsína is slightly more likely to make a visit, but you should still feel lucky if you see a cat or two roaming around the farm.
RESOURCES FROM NATURE
Birdlife and Eider Duck Farming
The Common Eider Duck (Somateria mollissima) is a species that belongs to many northern regions of the World, where it has adapted itself to the cold and capricious climate. In Iceland the Eider Duck is a resident bird, nesting along the coast and on some small islands.
Ever since the settlement of the country, some eleven centuries ago, Icelanders have made use of the down, developing methods now enshrined in tradition, of gathering the down without harming the birds or their eggs. Each spring, the Eider Duck comes back to its breeding grounds, returning to the same place year after year. The Eider farmers go to great lengths to create a peaceful and tranquil environment for the Eider, preparing and then protecting the nesting sites in the hope of attracting as many birds as possible.
The Sea Shore
Below the farm, there is a protected seashore, rich with birdlife, shells/clams/mussels, seaweed, and more. The seashore is an adventurous place, and at Bjarteyjarsandur it is used for educational purposes, wild mussel picking, swimming in the fjord, and hiking.
There are certain rules to obey and you should always ask the farmers for permission before heading to the shore.
Gardening and green house
Growing our own vegetables, salads, herbs, and more, is a part of being sustainable business. At Bjarteyjarsandur there is a small garden and a greenhouse that the farmers use for their small farmhouse restaurant.
All around the Hvalfjordur area there are secret places filled with wild thyme, blueberries, crowberries, birch, angelica, and much more that can be used making meals. Bjarteyjarsandur farmers use these lovely products to make their food even tastier.
One of our most famous dishes is the blueberry cured leg of lamb – a dish that the famous Rick Stein tried in his show on BBC2.