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Bjørge farm

It's Leiv and Solrunn Bjørge that welcomes you to Bjørge farm of today. A farm that has been in the family since 1874. In addition to agritourism and events, they breed Telemark cattle. Solrunn conjure up the tastiest ice cream from this endangered breed. The tasteful marbled meat become solid peasant dishes for guests. And both children and grandchildren participate in the running of the farm. 

Just before you get to Seljord you will find Bjørge gard. In the hillside to the right in the picture goes Telemark cows up and into the forest to pasture during the day. Both her body composition and temper helps her find food on mountain pasture and other areas not cultivated.

Just before you get to Seljord you will find Bjørge gard. In the hillside to the right in the picture goes Telemark cows up and into the forest to pasture during the day. Both her body composition and temper helps her find food on mountain pasture and other areas not cultivated.

Around 1840 "the Norwegian parliamentarisms father"came to the farm; left politician, parliamentarian, Prime Minister and VG-editor Johan Sverdrup. He came as an assistant to the local magistrate. His sister was married to Magistrate Nilsen in Seljord. And from 1878, they had public school on the farm; Skrivargarden Folkehøgskule it was called, but not everyone was in favor of the free-spirited school in this little place. Strife in the village decided its fate, and shortly after it closed.

In the dining room, located in the main building, they serve delicious rustic local food; great whitefish and trout from Lake Seljord, and meat dishes from the Telemark cow and elk. And of course ice cream from the fresh milk.

In the dining room, located in the main building, they serve delicious rustic local food; great whitefish and trout from Lake Seljord, and meat dishes from the Telemark cow and elk. And of course ice cream from the fresh milk.

There is a lot of history hidden in the walls of Bjørge. And Leiv pick them out again as good as he can. Taking a stroll in the village, talking with older people, maybe they remember some names and events from the history of Bjørge. And the use of local names based on topography and the landscape surrounding the farm.

Leivs mother, Borghild, was a strong woman with a strong personality. A woman interested in art, culture and proper nutrition. A woman with intelligence and interest for people, which ran the farm as a psychiatric nursing home from 1953 until she passed away in 1985. It seemed difficult to continue without a personality like Borghild. While Borghild performed her work, husband Olav worked with traditional agriculture; grain, grass and fruit. A time Leiv tells with fervor in his voice, a time of great activity on the farm. Where working people, staff and patients created the colorful wellbeing that Leiv with some regret remember so well. Such time never comes back, he says.

Today Solrunn and Leiv welcomes the guests to the farm; agritourism, meetings, and everything that naturally belongs to a farm with accommodation. Barn dance during the food festival Dyrskun has been well known for 15 years. And never have they had trouble, people really enjoy it.

An engaged Leiv tells the guests about the farm's history. Something he never gets tired of. And the guests enjoy it.

An engaged Leiv tells the guests about the farm's history. Something he never gets tired of. And the guests enjoy it.

Solrunn is doing hers; if she is not taking care of the guests or standing over the pots, she makes delicious ice cream from the Telemark cattles milk. And with the finest natural additives from fruit and berries. They have just invested in a portioning machine to fill small boxes with 1.8 dl ice cream. And they give the ice cream the finest flavors: dark or white chocolate, wild strawberries, raspberry sorbet, and last shot of the stem; blackcurrant from Mustvedt farm in Gjerpensdalen in Skien. For on Bjørge's the Telemark cattle is the star.

Here, between the fruit trees just below the farmhouses, the Telemark cows take a rest while waiting for today's milking. Thriving animals, who like to be scratched behind the horns.

Here, between the fruit trees just below the farmhouses, the Telemark cows take a rest while waiting for today's milking. Thriving animals, who like to be scratched behind the horns.

A race that saw the light in 1856, Norway's oldest livestock race, which for many years has been endangered. Had it not been for enthusiasts like Leiv and Solrunn Bjørge, and all the others who almost have seen it as a life mission to preserve the breed, it's hard to say if we would have had any left of these small stunted cozy animals. Luckily some people also think tradition and operating on a smaller scale, and with a perhaps better "yield" when all is said and done. Both her body composition and temper helps her find food on mountain pasture and other areas not cultivated. A very pleasant race to work with, and not only the delicious milk, also the good marbled meat is appreciated. 


The cows are ready to be milked, and Leiv are taking them down the last hill toward the barn, after Solrunn has taken them down from the hill forest.

The cows are ready to be milked, and Leiv are taking them down the last hill toward the barn, after Solrunn has taken them down from the hill forest.

On Bjørge the guests appreciate good local food; trout and whitefish from Lake Seljord, solid country fare with ingredients from the Telemark cattle and elk. And of course the farm's own ice cream. 
Leivs brother Olav, which owns and operates the parsonage in Seljord, has the last 12 years fished out 45 tonnes of whitefish and trout to bring up the quality. And it has paid off. Bigger, bolder whitefish and trout, and crustaceans which provides trout color, is back. In 2005 he built a small fish processing plant on the farm, where he sells whitefish and trout to hotels, restaurants and others who love good fish. Hot smoked or fresh. 

Slow Food Telemark got, not long ago, the Telemark cattle incorporated into the Ark of Taste of Slow Food, which works to preserve and catalog the old culinary traditions and products that are about to disappear, and to save endangered breeds. Is the breed registered, it can also be a Presidium in Slow Food; small projects granted to producers or associations who need extra support and attention. So hopefully both Telemarkskua and Bjørge gard have got exciting times ahead of them.

The Bjørge burger is popular. The recipe is Solrunns little secret, but try this recipe, which also tastes good. Preferably with meat from the Telemark cow, which they sell from the farm in harvest time and beyond. To the right the ice cream, served with an almond bottom, blueberries and raspberries.

The Bjørge burger is popular. The recipe is Solrunns little secret, but try this recipe, which also tastes good. Preferably with meat from the Telemark cow, which they sell from the farm in harvest time and beyond. To the right the ice cream, served with an almond bottom, blueberries and raspberries.

Recipes:

Patties with broccoli and mushrooms

500 gr. meat, preferably from the Telemarks cow

1 egg + 1 tbs cornflour

2 shallots, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, nutmeg if you like it

2 dl. milk

Broccoli

Carrots and chanterelle, or chamignons

Mix the dry ingredients. Then mix in the egg and dilute with the milk. Fry patties in oil or butter. Serve with roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots and peppered, butter fried chanterelles or champignons.

Oven baked potatoes

Cut potatoes into wedges, brush a little oil in a roasting tray. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees C. Turn slightly the potatoes so they will not stick. Then give them a little salt.

Telemark ice cream with blueberries and raspberries

Stir together sugar and blueberries. Run in hand blender to a smooth paste. Add as a "mirror" on the plate. Then add the almond bottom which has been pressed out with a glass. Give two or three spoons of Telemark ice, and finally raspberries as a garnish.

Almond Bottom

4 eggs

160 gr sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

200g ground almonds

Whip the eggs and sugar. Mix the baking powder with the almonds and stir it gently into the egg mixture. Fill a 22 cm. springform and bake at 175 degrees C. for about 30 minutes. Cool and press out cookies with a glass.

This beautiful calf came to be scratched, and he did not give up untill he thought himself finished. A cozy guy.

This beautiful calf came to be scratched, and he did not give up untill he thought himself finished. A cozy guy.

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