Farmer Trade

In the days of homesteading, people produced almost everything they needed themselves, for example, food, tools, clothes, and household utensils. The goal was to produce a certain surplus that could be sold in order to purchase any goods that could not be produced in the household.

 

Goods that could be produced in abundance included butter, cheese, skins, meat, fish, and linen. If you were very skilled at a particular craft, it could also be a way to earn a little extra income. The farmers could not produce salt for example, which was a vital product for salting meat and fish so that it would last longer, or lead for casting bullets to use for hunting. Other things that were purchased were non-essentials such as porcelain, silver spoons, silk fabrics, and tobacco.

 

To earn as much as possible from what they sold, they wanted to handle the sales themselves. Since the 1400s, rural trade has only been allowed in special marketplaces or in the cities. All goods sold were subject to a fee, like today's VAT, which went to the city treasury. Before 1842 there was not a single city or even a small town in northern Ångermanland; the nearest town was Härnösand. The state tried in different ways to limit the peasants' trade and the peasants tried in different ways to get around the limitations in order to earn as much as possible. Today we get a lot for the taxes that we pay: hospitals, schools, roads, etc., but before it was worse and, at times, most of the tax money funded wars

Sörkörare (Travelling Trader-Farmers)

Sörkörare were travelling trader-farmers in the area who set off for the Stockholm area by horse and sleigh, to do business in the winter, when the ice had settled. They sold skins, hides, wooden spoons, linen of coveted quality, butter, poultry, and reindeer meat. On the journey back, they could bring grain, silver, and exotic luxury goods such as silk and spices. The whole journey could take two months. There was an aura of festivity and adventure around these trips and many became rich through their trade. Others failed and were ruined. These travelling trader-farmers broadened their horizons and could tell stories about life out in the big world.