Breaking News
More () »

Ship ME Out | E4 - 'Rolling to Reykjavik'

Just how hard is it to get a piece of Maine to Iceland?

Watch all five episodes of Ship ME Out at shipmeout.com

"Ship ME Out" tells the story of the people from around the world who get Maine wild blueberries from the barrens of downeast Maine to stores in Iceland, after they’re processed into jam and sailed across the Atlantic on a container ship. This five-part series is an economics story that shows how Maine's multi-million dollar investment connects the state to other countries and new neighbors.

It’s a modern-day Viking saga about business, sea captains, CEOs and wicked good blueberry pie.

NEWS CENTER Maine reporter Dustin Wlodkowski and photojournalist Kirk Cratty are the connective tissue binding together the characters you’ll meet on this journey for the first time on video. You can find the full series at shipmeout.com and on NEWS CENTER Maine's YouTube page.

Episode 4 - 'Rolling to Reykjavik'

In this episode of Ship ME Out, Dustin and Kirk arrive in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, after sailing through some 20-foot waves. The show starts in the middle of the open sea in rough weather. After that, it shows Dustin and Kirk arriving in Reykjavik pre-dawn. At that point, the pair get off the ship and figure out what happens to wild Maine blueberry jam after arrival, which leads us to the next question.

Where does Stonewall Kitchen’s wild Maine blueberry jam (and its other products) go when it arrives in Iceland?

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

First, the jam goes to the warehouse of the food distributor Stonewall Kitchen partners with to get its products out across Iceland. That company is called HB Heildverslun. Its warehouse is located very close to the docks, only about five minutes or so away. Sometimes entire containers of products are brought there but most of the time, containers are emptied at the port. From that warehouse, employees of the distributor deliver Stonewall Kitchen products to different retailers in Iceland. They can be as close as a grocery store ten minutes from the seaport to restaurants in Akureyri, a city in the northern part of Iceland, which is about a five hour drive from Reykjavik.

What do people in Iceland do with the jam? 

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Put it on stuff! Just like Mainers, Icelanders like to pair the jam with carbs like pancakes. Sometimes it will also be served with cheese.

Is the jam popular in Iceland?

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Yes! We don’t have exact figures but Stonewall Kitchen and HB Heildverslun say the product is selling very well in Iceland. They also told us Iceland has become one of Stonewall Kitchen’s top international accounts.

What else do Icelanders eat?

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

All sorts of things. Reykjavik has all kinds of restaurants, just like most American cities. However, staples of the Icelandic diet are fish and lamb since fish and sheep are plentiful in the island nation. Traditional Viking Icelandic cuisine that is not necessarily popular includes fermented shark, whale meat, dishes made out of sheep heads and puffin.

Where will Episode 4 take me? 📍

Middle of the North Atlantic Ocean: Water, as far as the eye can see

Reykjavik Port: Where wild Maine blueberry jam is unloaded from boats coming in from Maine.

HB Heildverslun: Stonewall Kitchen’s food distributor in Iceland.

Melabudin: An upscale grocery store in one of Reykjavik’s historic neighborhoods. It’s one of the stores that sells wild Maine blueberry jam.

Harpa: A multi-purpose convention center and concert venue that hosted the 2018 Arctic Circle Assembly, a trade summit attended by Maine dignitaries and business people.

Who will I meet in this episode? 🤝

Hildur Aðalsteinsdóttir - Owner, HB Heidelverslun

"[Stonewall has] a big big product range so it started small but it started to sell really really well and we always try new stuff. I don’t think we have all items and not all of them are selling the same but they’re all selling. Some items we sell in bulk and others we sell individually … How is the wild Maine blueberry jam selling? 'Really good.'"

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine
Hildur Aðalsteinsdóttir

Petur Guðmundsson - Owner, Melabudin

"Icelanders love it. They do. This store is quality. People come here to buy organic, quality food. They want to have something special and quality, it’s the middle name of the store."

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine
Petur Guðmundsson

Eric Carlson - Engineering Consultant/SVP, Woodard & Curran

"We’re here in a zone where you have people from all over Northern Europe, from the United States collaborating to make a better place."

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine
Eric Carlson

Before You Leave, Check This Out