At Útvík farm in North Iceland’s Skagafjörður region, beer and milk go hand in hand.
Published in the 2013 October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. By Zoë Robert. Photos by Áslaug Snorradóttir.
“The guys say that I farm with my telephone,” laughs Árni Ingólfur Hafstað.
With four jobs, Árni spends a fair share of his time on the road. Aside from the dairy farm Útvík near Sauðárkrókur in Skagafjörður, North Iceland, he and his wife Birgitte Bærendtsen, originally from Denmark, also run the brewery Gæðingur Öl ehf. and Microbar in Reykjavík. To add to this, Árni works as a hearing therapist, traveling the country measuring people’s hearing.
Efficiency and multi-tasking are essential, Árni says. “I can take care of a lot just using the telephone and computer. In between appointments I usually have ten minutes or so and I can sometimes go online to check if something needs to be done,” he says, adding that he worked as a speech therapist for five years before switching to hearing therapy.
“But, I’m more of a salesman these days. I measure people’s hearing and offer them a hearing aid. I then go back and check on them later.”
On average, Árni travels 10-15 days of every month but says he sometimes wouldn’t mind spending more time at home. “I like to be at home, see the seasons change, cut the grass. I don’t mind missing winter, though.” In the meantime, Birgitte holds the fort, tending to the cows and daily bookkeeping until their two young children Baltasar (10) and Apríl (2) return home at the end of the school day, absorbing her time in the evening.
“It’s a lot of work,” she confesses. Luckily, when the family needs a break, it’s just a 15-minute drive to their summerhouse in Varmahlíð. “People think it’s a bit weird that we go on holiday so close to home, but it’s great,” Birgitte says.
You can read the remainder of this article in the October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe and here to view a selection of pages from the current issue.