The food rebel from Røros

The wide range of products from Galåvolden Gård. Photo: private

When Ingulf Galåen started producing eggs in 1976, he wanted to sell his eggs himself. Although that would turn out to be easier said than done, his efforts have helped plough the field for local small-scale producers.

His farm, Galåvolden Gård, is situated about 8 km southwest of Røros and 720 m above sea level. Dairy farming has taken place here since the farm was cleared in 1721.

“After eggs, cheese is current our main product with an annual production of 15 tonnes of Røros cheese,” says Ingulf Galåen, the ninth generation on the family farm.

Egg production only started at Galåvolden when Ingulf took over. When he started in 1976, there were 850 hens upstairs in the new cowshed. Production has since expanded sixfold and, between Ingulf and his son Lars Jacob, there are now 15,000 free-range hens.

Ingulf Galåen holder ei høne og fire egg.
Ingulf Galåen with a hen and fresh eggs.

Processing their own produce

Galåvolden’s philosophy is to process as much of their produce as possible into end products and preferably to sell everything directly to the consumers.

“We have been conscious of not copying others, but instead creating unique products that add something new to the market. Consequently, we have developed most of what we deliver ourselves,” says Ingulf.

This has resulted in many awards. Numerous products have received attention and most of these have gained the prestigious Spesialitet (specialty) label.

The food processing adventure at Galåvolden began when Ingulf’s wife, Gunn, moved to the farm in the early 2000s. They built a farm kitchen, and she was given the responsibility for making products from the farm produce. Eggs, milk, beef and chicken have led to a wide range of products, including several types of cheese and ice cream.

Egg yolk is used in many of the ice creams to utilise eggs that cannot be sold in shops owing to their size or damage to the shell. This also results in less food waste.

“We also produce mayonnaise and egg liqueur from the egg yolks and the egg whites are used for meringue products. This way, nothing is wasted,” Ingulf explains.

Ingulf Galåen og Gunn Brønnun smiler mot kamera på Gården Galåvolden gård.
Ingulf Galåen and his wife Gunn Brønnum.

From food villain to food hero

Right from the time Ingulf started egg production in the 1970s, he was determined to sell his eggs himself. However, it has not always been easy.

“I felt opposed by the official agricultural policy and the grocery chains. Everything in the supermarkets had to be the same and the product range was the same. I felt alone, almost like a food villain, but attitudes towards local food have gradually changed. Today, I feel more like a food hero,” Ingulf smiles.

As well as being behind numerous award-winning products, Ingulf has put Røros on the map through Rørosmat, which he established along with five other local producers in 1999. The efforts of this special interest organisation mean that today many people refer to Røros as Norway’s “local food capital”. Ingulf has been Chair of the Board of Rørosmat for the past 16 years and the organisation now has 27 members.

“This collaboration has led to a stimulating unity with a common brand, sales and competence community. We would not be what we are today without it,” he says.

Ingulf’s efforts for local food and small-scale producers have been recognised by several awards, the highest of which are no doubt the Ingrid Espelid Hovig Food Culture Prize and the King’s Medal of Merit.

 

Written by Håvard Egge

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