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Carolina Oliveira
7 months ago
Korjuu Interview: Elisa Ahtosaari - Häme Highland Honey

 

1. How Häme Honey was founded? The Alhainen farm has a long history, but what made you (Elisa and Mikko) want to return to the highlands to produce premium honey? 

 

We studied in Helsinki and at the time of graduation and start of our work careers, Mikko's father reached retirement age. We wanted to live our lives and raise our children in the countryside. Mikko's family farm was a possibility to do this in combination with daily work. We have developed the farm to support biodiversity alongside sustainable agriculture and forestry. After nearly ten years of living and developing the farm, Elisa got interested in beekeeping. Our farm gives a great foundation for the production of high-quality artisan honey. 

 

2. What is a typical working day at Alhainen like? How do seasons affect daily work, especially having in mind the shortness of warmer months?

 

The days vary a lot during the year. Beekeeping keeps Elisa busy during warmer months and wintertime is for preparation for the next season and selling the honey. Elisa is also a furniture upholsterer, fixing old furniture, and this is good wintertime work. Mikko works regular office hours and takes off to farm chores during weekends and evenings. We have outsourced the regular farming activities to neighbor Ahdesalon Maatila farm which has modern and effective machinery. They also have many great products from quality Hereford beef to strawberries and great vegetables. We focus on the biodiversity-enhancing work on our pastures, flower&wildlife fields, wetlands, and the beekeeping and forestry work. Our four children keep us busy too while they are an increasing help on the day-to-day life.

 

3. Can you please talk about the fact that Alhainen farm is one of the few wildlife estates in Finland, and also Mikko's work with the Finnish WIldlife Agency? How your combined work protects and enhances biodiversity around you?

 

Mikko's passion for wildlife and the sustainable use of wild living resources is the driver for our work and life at the farm. Mikko learned about the Wildlife Estates label at his work in the Finnish Wildlife Agency. Other farms with this label have been large estates and our idea was to show that small farms and regular people can also make great things for nature. We also hoped that the label would support our honey sale and other business ideas. Working with biodiversity in practice at home/farm is a great learning opportunity for Mikko, as he can take the theory into practice personally, which strengthens his know-how in projects such as SOTKA-kosteikot.

 

4. Your honey might be one of the purest in the world, as the environment around you is one of the cleanest, contributing to higher quality and uniqueness. Do you think Finns consume enough honey, and mostly, good and pure honey?

 

Honey is absolutely fantastic natural product with lots of beneficial nutrients accompanied by great aromas. Finns could consume more honey and pay more attention to the origin of the honey. Just a quick look at the grocery store reveals that many of the honey products have raw material imported outside of the EU, where legislation and natural conditions do not guarantee the quality meeting the standards in Finland. The purchase of Finnish honey is responsible and safe – consumers support the Finnish economy and the products are of high quality.

 

5. Have you noticed a change in customer behavior now during the epidemic? What do you think 2021 will look like from a producer's perspective?

 

We are in the very beginning of our beekeeping and just established our webstore in January 2021. Hopefully, we can find customers who value the biodiversity and wants to enjoy the great flavors of our honey produced responsibly at our family farm and the surrounding landscapes of Häme Highlands.

 

 

Photo: Häme Highland Honey Facebook

Edited 7 months ago
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