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The food in Katla Geopark and Westman Islands
In the area of Katla Geopark and Westman Islands, there is a tradition for agriculture of various kinds, for example, grain cultivation, growing root vegetables, and fishing. The main characteristics of the area are birds and collecting eggs.

Rangárþing eystra
Hvolsvöllur is the main urban area of Rangárþing eystri and was built as a center for agricultural services in the second half of the last century. There are now about 1000 people living there and the main industries are services to agriculture, trade, and tourism. The abattoir Sláturfélag Suðurlands also has one of the largest meat processing plants in the country stationed there. It moved from Reykjavík in 1991.

Smáratún farm in Fljótshlíð is one of the founding members of Beint frá býli or from farm to table. Various products are processed there, e.g., jam from various berries and rhubarb, bread and Icelandic flatbread, sheep liver pâté, eggs, lamb, potatoes, rutabaga, and beef. Smáratún also runs a hotel and a restaurant that has the Nordic Ecolabel and is launching a "zero waste" program.

Vísi Gísli, who lived in Fljótshlíð in the 17th century, was the first Icelander to study science at university. He was a pioneer in horticulture in that century, and from him comes cumin, which now grows wild in Fljótshlíð. In Fljótshlíð, cumin was added to coffee, pancakes, and rhubarb jam on special occasions. Rutabagas were also grown there as it has good and sandy soil below the road.

Under the mountains Eyjafjöll, fulmar hunting has been practiced for years. The hunting that is practiced today is more to maintain old rituals than to make money. In the old days, people used to climb down the cliffs, nowadays people walk or drive and knock out the bird that is sitting below the cliffs.

Corn cultivation has been practiced in Iceland since the settlement age and most of the cornfields are in South Iceland. The Eyjafjöll mountains are considered one of the best areas for corn cultivation as well as the lowlands of the county Rangárvallasýsla. Barley, wheat, and rapeseed have been grown in Þorvaldseyri farm in recent years, and the rapeseed has been used for both human consumption and biodiesel.

Cabbage gardens were popular centuries ago and for a long time, only rutabagas were grown. They were considered particularly good for the masses. Rutabaga seeds were obtained from abroad.

Vestmannaeyjar – Westman Islands
The Westman Islands and the surrounding sea cliffs have considerable birdlife, one of the largest puffin settlements in the world is in the Westman Islands, rich fishing grounds, and several whales. The islands were formed by eruptions under sea level and the soil is shallow in many places and therefore not good for horticulture, in many places there is rocky soil and lava. Some rare plants grow there e.g., in the valley Herjólfsdalur.

The food consumption in Westman Islands was better and more diverse than in other fishing villages due to the food source. The food varied according to the seasons and became unilateral during the fishing season and spring. General eating habits in the second half of the 19th century: First, coffee was drunk or Icelandic moss tea. Breakfast was at 10.00 and consisted of salted fish, trout, haddock, cusk (salted and processed), ling, pollock, or skate. Lunch was at 3 pm, salted bird or fresh during summer, milk porridge, boiled fish, sour inwards of sheep and sour whale. Hot or cold beans and barley porridge. A lot of dried fish was eaten with butter. Dinner was at 7 pm. Bird soup with salted puffins or fulmar, usually fulmar with chopped angelica leaves. Thin milk porridge and grounded barley was often on top. In the evening coffee was drunk again. Dulse was eaten and seagrass in bread. Mutton and salted fulmar and puffins were the main winter supplies. Fresh fulmar was boiled in pieces (salted/dried flat), the bird was boiled with all the entrails as that was considered the best. Smoked puffin and fulmar chicks were served on special occasions. Fulmar was not heavily smoked because then its fat could not be used. The head was also eaten. Gannets were also eaten, heads and wings scorched, and gannet blood pudding made from the liver with raisins and spices.

Angelica and angelica roots were widely used, many had angelica gardens. Around 1850, potato cultivation began with blue-red potatoes from Scotland. The butter came from the mainland and was bought with stockfish. On Sundays, there was salted meat with potatoes or meat soups, beans, and meat. In the fall, fresh meat was cooked or fried.

Only fishermen got a piece of bread with their morning coffee. In the late 19th century, fishermen began to take food along with them when they went out on the sea, thick slices of rye bread or rye cakes with meat or other toppings. Cakes and pastries were only served on holidays or during special occasions. Bread such as a special Icelandic pretzel, hardtack (hard bread that lasts long), with syrup was served with the coffee.

Kútmagar - Stuffed fish stomachs with kneaded empty liver or flour. Roe, roe pouch and liver heads were a great favorite, especially new halibut heads and fattest parts from halibut. Fish swim bladders were cured, and cod heads were half-dried. Cod milt was used but was considered poor food. There was usually plenty of fish so anyone could eat as much as they liked. Many people considered half-dried or dried fish better than a fresh one. Cod was not eaten as it was the main export product.

During fishing season, new fish was e.g., halibut. In the summer, all sorts of fish were caught such as cod, torsk, halibut, plaice. Side dishes were rutabagas and potatoes, but they began to grow after the middle of the century. Also, dough cakes are made from rye or wheat, and roe cakes are made from roe and flour. Dough cakes were also eaten with salted meat. Fusion of tallow and cod-liver-oil was used as butter. Eggs were available in early summer, they were placed in salt and dispensed between people for breakfast or lunch, 3-4 eggs per person. Omelets were also made.

Parties: After the fulmar hunting, there was a feast for the hunters. Smoked baby fulmar, raisin porridge with syrup, meat soup with fresh meat, or mutton steak. Lots of coffee, with brennivin liquor and cognac. Julsaveisla party was similar after puffin hunting held by the fishermen who ferried hunters to the islands, and the hunters themselves held a puffin party with good food and wine.

In summer rotten stingray and puffin were salted in barrels. Red sorrel was like a salad with fish and even sprinkled with brown sugar. Today, people from Westman Islands do not have to eat soured or smoked food, except to taste it for the old tradition. In the Westman Islands, there are numerous restaurants serving fish, meat, vegetables, and other delicacies.

The restaurant Slippurinn has been in the Magna house since 2012. There, the previous activities of the house can be enjoyed. They work with small suppliers and producers, fishermen, and farmers in the local area. They also pick herbs and seaweed and cultivate what is difficult to get elsewhere. Local and seasonal cuisine where the menu changes every week depending on available ingredients. Old methods are combined with new and fresh ones and they want to make Icelandic everyday ingredients stand out.

GOTT is a restaurant that emphasizes healthy food where everything is prepared from scratch and fresh and wholesome ingredients are used.

Einsi Kaldi is a restaurant renowned for its delicious seafood and other local ingredients.

The settlement in Vík was formed around a store that began in 1884 with fishing, discharging, and loading. Most of those who moved to Vík in the first years were local farmers from the area who kept part of their livestock, sheep were given pasture in Vík and most households had their own cows for milk production. The cows were herded to and from the village every morning and evening. The residents of Mýrdalur were dependent on their livestock, as most of the food production was done at home. Milk and dairy products were processed at home and mutton as well.

Farmers went to the fishing stations in the autumn, to Reykjavík, or even to Snæfellsnes in the west. It was beneficial to live close by the sea and even vital. The residents of Mýrdalur started hunting fulmars around 1830, as there are a lot of them in the area. First, dip nets were used or an attempt made to shoot the fulmar. Attempts were also made by climbing the cliffs, which was dangerous, as people with primitive equipment used for it. Until the first decade of the last century, both winter fulmars and fulmar chicks were hunted. Descending of a cliff by rope was difficult and labor-intensive task. Blackbird eggs were often picked along the way. To this day, eggs are still being picked but fulmars are only caught at the end of the summer, for 1-2 weeks. Then the fulmar chicks are chased and knocked out. The fulmar is de-feathered, scorched, and salted in barrels. Puffin was caught with a dip net for many years, first, he was dug out from his holes but later a dip net was used. Until the 1940s, fishing was practiced in Mýrdalur. Rowing was from Dyrhólaey, Reynisfjörður, Pétursey and Maríuhlið by Jökulsá on Sólheimasandur. Fishing was important to provide for the household. There is no port in the area and landing conditions were difficult and so dangerous that fishing stopped.

The district Skaftárhreppur is located on the south coast of Iceland between two areas of sand, Mýrdalssandur, and Skeiðarársandur. The only urban area is the village Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The farmers that owned land by the sea, benefitted from seals, trout fishing, and driftwood. After heavy waves, farmers often went to the beach to catch fish that the waves had thrown ashore. The fish had to be retrieved before the birds.

Many landholdings in county Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla were large and therefore suitable for sheep farming. Farmers took part in the sale of sheep to Britain through the Stokkseyri Association. It was a long way for the residents to go to the store, one was in Eyrarbakki village and the other in Papós by Höfn. After trade began in Vík, the journey was considerably shortened and in 1908 goods were transported to Skaftárós.

The Skaftártungu cheese: Milk is heated so it becomes warm, and then rennet is added to it. Stir over low heat after it starts to thicken. At first slowly but then quickly until the jellies became as small as crumbs. Then the pot was taken out of the fire and covered and let stand for 5 - 10 min. The cheese was kneaded and placed in a container for 24 hours. Taken and salted and placed in brine and then dried. Stored in a dry and cool place without draft. Daily turned and damped a dough cloth. The women from Skáftártunga felt that they did not get proper cheeses after they stopped using sheep's milk.

Eel fishing was in Landbrot and Meðalland and is considered gentleman's food in many parts of the world. Strain traps were used for fishing, but it was mostly done around 1960. For a long time, it was possible to get eel from Sægreifinn in Reykjavík, as the owner was Kjartan who came from Meðalland. The eel was salted or smoked, and the skin was used for shoestrings. Icelanders did not like eel, so most of it was exported. Not as much eel is seen now as before and there has been little organized fishing around it. This may be due to the and swamp drainage. However, you can still see eels in Meðalland and Landbrot if you search carefully. Lyme grass was used in the district and most of it in Meðalland and Álftaver. The grain was used for baking bread, cakes, and for porridge. Lyme grass is nowadays used in land reclamation where there are sand drifts or wind erosion. It would be good to maintain the old traditional method of Skaftafell and use the lyme grass in developing methods to use it for food or crafts today.

For lummur (small Icelandic pancakes) all kinds of grain and porridge leftovers were used and fried in a pan. The residents of Skaftafell made lummur from Lyme grass flour. Great skua eggs were picked and fulmar was hunted in Álftaver district. There is a lot of trout in the rivers in the area, Kúðafljót, Tungufljót, Eldvatn, and Grenlækur. At Klaustur there is a charr farm, Klaustursbleikja.

In Seglbúðir the farm is a slaughterhouse and in Borgarfell farm a meat processing plant. There is a lack of information about their status and whether they are still running or not. At Sandhóll farm in Meðalland, various useful herbs have been cultivated recently, for example, oats, barley, and rapeseed. You can buy rapeseed oil, barley, oats, and beef from them.

Grasa Þórunn was an herbalist and midwife, born in Skaftártunga and a midwife in Fljótshverfi. She was well acquainted with plants and what plants could be used for various medical purposes. Rutabaga was grown in Maríubakki farm, which was completely different from other Nordic beet stocks. Seeds were obtained from Kálfafell farm and the variant has never left the area. In the county Skaftafellssýsla, smoked sheep belly flesh pâté was prepared. The sheep belly was boiled with as little water as possible, and the scum was removed. One layer on top of another and salt in between. Then the scum was poured over at the end, then heavyweight placed on top of it and stored in a cool place. Sausages were not common in these areas.