While common reed, growing up to 4 meters tall, is usually not found in the human cuisine, the fresh spring shoots of the tallest grass in Estonia are munched on happily by cows that can be encountered in many herds on the coastal areas of Saaremaa and Muhu. According to the Estonian Topographic Database, the total area of reed-beds in Saare County is about 5,013 hectares.
There is enough reed here for animal feed and bedding and for the production of cellulose, biogas, heating fuel as well as noise and thermal insulation mats. Saare County, in particular, is also notable for its reed roofs, constructed craftily with skills passed on across generations, that can protect a building for up to 80 years – over three human generations. And that is not all.
As craftsmanship is held in high regard in the county, many people use reed for weaving carpets, crafting reed crowns for holidays or making other decorative items.
While reed pen and pan flute are probably the best-known reed items in the world, reed as an environmental alternative to plastic is becoming increasingly popular as material for reusable drinking straws. In addition, reed looks nice as a home decoration.
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