Blueberries are now in season. Some may call them bilberries. At any rate, the berries of the Vaccinium myrtillus bush are now waiting out there in the forest for those who know where to find them.
An extremely recent addition to our family has made fishing and foraging out of the question for me, at least for the time being.
Luckily, on the way home from the post office, I passed by an old gentleman selling the berries that he had picked this morning. He was on a bench in the shade in Kirkkopuisto, a park quite close to our home.
Four euros for half a liter seemed pretty steep, but a liter was ten euros at the marketplace yesterday. The price will go down as the berry season progresses.
The old fellow selling berries was exercising his Jokamiehen oikeudet or Everyman's rights. Everyman's rights allow for free right of access to land and waterways and also give the right to harvest wild berries and mushrooms regardless of who owns the land. These rights also generally apply to foreign citizens. Income from selling berries that you have picked yourself is tax-free in Finland.
Everyman's right in brief (From Ministry of the Environment website)
walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside, except in gardens, in the immediate vicinity of people’s homes, and in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged
stay or set up camp temporarily in the countryside, a reasonable distance from homes
pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species
fish with a rod and line
row, sail or use a motorboat on waterways, with certain restrictions; swim or wash in inland waters and the sea
walk, ski and fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea
You may not:
disturb other people or damage property
disturb breeding birds, or their nests or young
disturb reindeer or game animals
cut down or damage living trees, or collect wood, moss or lichen on other people’s property
light open fires on other people’s property, except in an emergency
disturb the privacy of people’s homes, by camping too near them, or making too much noise, for example
drive motor vehicles off road without the landowner’s permission
fish or hunt without the relevant permits