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MARKARYD: Around Christmas and New Year, kilos of "Russian" caviar are eaten around the world.

But now you can also get Småland caviar. Sturgeon fish swim in the old mill premises in Strömsnäsbruk instead of paper pulp. Arctic Roe of Scandinavia is the name of the company that started caviar farming in 2015, and they are the first to do so in Sweden. 

Let's get this caviar thing out of the way first. The right man for that is site manager Ola Brandt.

Caviar means "bearing sturgeon" in Persian. Russian or Iranian caviar are accepted names, and in English, they say black caviar. We do that too. Russia is perhaps the country most associated with vodka-soaked and champagne-bubbling caviar feasting. But the wild beluga sturgeons caught there are now red-listed.

Grigorij Jakovlevs is an expert in sturgeon farming and his mother has helped teach us how to handle caviar

-There is no wild caviar anymore, but it is cultivated in most countries. China is one of the largest producers.

Curious fish

The initiative for the cultivation was taken by the enthusiast Torbjörn Ranta in 2015. He had traveled extensively in Russia and seen sturgeon farms there. After a diligent local search, he caught sight of Strömsnäsbruk's old mill buildings. But you don't start a project like this if you don't have knowledgeable people with you.

- We are lucky to have Grigorij Jakovlevs from Riga here. He is an expert in sturgeon farming and his mother has helped teach us how to handle caviar, explains Ola and leads us to the pools.

The Siberian sturgeon can weigh 25 kilos.

It smells faintly of ozone and Ola explains that it is used for water purification.

- We have several different purification systems that oxygenate the water. It is an art to get the right balance of everything, but extremely important for the fish to have the best possible time.

Grigorij Jakovlevs  from Latvia is an expert in sturgeon cultivation. Here with Ola Brandt, Artic Roe of Scandinavia AB, in Strömsnäsbruk.
Photo: Stefan Sandström

And there they are, the ancient animals swimming around in pools of 20,000 litres of twenty-degree water. They are a bit curious and Ola says they can splash, but they behave in an exemplary manner.

Existed for 250 million years

- The sturgeon is 250 million years old and there are 27 species. We have Siberian sturgeon and it can weigh up to twenty-five kilos. A Russian beluga, on the other hand, can weigh one and a half tons.

Something is calming about the fish swimming just an arm's length away from us. But I can't help but wonder if they are enjoying themselves.

- These are born in captivity and don't know anything else, and we have fewer fish in the basins than we are allowed to have. In addition, they are not euthanized as is done in most other countries, but we milk out the caviar every two years. We want to have as animal-friendly and environmentally-friendly production as possible.

Milking is also a complex process. Join now! Every two years the female lays her roe. Then it is up to Ola and his employees to be on the lookout and do an ultrasound to see if they are ripe. If you are too late, the roe grains are released into the water or re-form, and then you have lost two years of hard work. If the roe is in progress, the female is put in a so-called Zimnik - a nursery. There, the temperature is significantly lower, about eight degrees.

- In the open, the sturgeon migrates from the sea, up into rivers and lakes which are colder. Along the way, they lose their fat stores and this is a must for them to be able to lay their roe, explains Ola. So we imitate that process by keeping them in Zimnik for just over a month.

Must be strong

In addition to know-how, arm strength is also required.

- They are enormously strong, laughs Ola. We are four people to be able to hold them as gently as possible. The same fish is milked three times in a day, two hours apart.

We are now in the kitchen. This requires speed and, literally speaking, fingertip feeling. First, the caviar must be rinsed. A shorter heat treatment is then carried out which strengthens the surface of the roe grains so that it does not collapse from salt and water. Then the salt is hand massaged in and it is weighed, packaged and reheated for shelf life.

- We have tested a lot and now we have a very good product.

Considering that a fish costs thousands of kroner, that you cannot take the roe until the fish are six years old, and that you only get eight to ten per cent of their body weight every two years, you understand that caviar costs a lot.


  • AROS in Strömsnäsbruk is the first Swedish company to grow black caviar.
  • They have a so-called Siberian sturgeon that can weigh up to 25 kilos at the age of 20.
  • It grows about 1 kilo per year.
  • Only caviar from sturgeon is called "caviar", which means pregnant sturgeon in Persian.
  • There is no wild caviar. Everything sold on the world market comes from farms.
  • AROS has approx, 850 sturgeons in pools in the old paper mill in Strömsnäsbruk.
  • A sturgeon costs about SEK 400/kg in live weight.
  • You can only take the roe every two years. Then you get about 8 - 10% of the sturgeon's body weight.
  • 1 kilo of caviar costs approx. SEK 20,000 in the end. AROS gets half of it.
  • In 2020, AROS produced 136 kg.
  • How to eat caviar? According to Ola just as it is, without bread etc. Possibly with a little lemon.
  • It is important to use a mother-of-pearl spoon. Steel and silver add an aftertaste.
  • Vodka and champagne are drunk with the caviar.


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