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Eating your way through Finland: 8 tips for a tasty summer

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If you, like the rest of Finland, have your summer vacation in July you most likely spend that vacation within Finland this year. In our blog last week, we gave you tips for having a great time swimming during the summer. This time we’ll talk about food and how you can spend your summer vacation eating your way through Finland. 

Eating and getting to know Finland

Due to obvious reasons, there is less foreign travel this vacation season and more local travel within Finland. Whether you are planning on doing longer trips or just day trips around your home, take this opportunity to taste new flavors, and experience new things. And do that by supporting local producers, artists, and service providers. Use these resources to explore what is available in the area you are traveling to. 

Tip #1: ProLocalis: an app to explore local producers and artisans

ProLocalis – Go Local is an app that is a few years old. It was developed by Christos Granqvist from Kirkkonummi who himself is a farmer. 

The app helps consumers and tourists to find locally produced goods and services. The producers and service providers that are on it are all privately owned and small enterprises. ProLocalis requires that in order to be accepted to the platform the owner must participate in the production and selling of the product. 

This is primarily a mobile app, but on their Finnish language website, you see their coverage. You can download the app from the regular app stores. 

There you can find, for example, Suklaatila (Chocolate Farm) in Ylöjärvi. They also have an online store for their chocolates. Or Iitin maatilatori (Iitti’s Farmers Market) that sells farm produce from over 100 Finnish producers. They also have an online store. 

Tip #2: Website for booking a vacation at a Finnish farm

Why not try something completely different and stay at a Finnish farm? There are a number of different options to choose from in terms of Finnish regions, types of accommodations, and associated services. 

Matkamaalle.fi website allows you to search for different services (accommodation, food, activities, etc.) by region. Unfortunately, the search results are mostly in Finnish. The individual service providers themselves may have also English language information available.  

Tip #3: Eating and touring ecologically in Finland

Members of the Finnish Eco-Agrotourism Association provide sustainable tourism in Finland. Their members include organic and biodynamic farms, ecologically responsible guesthouses and B&Bs, and other destinations that promote the protection of nature and local culture.

To search for these destinations, use the association webpages. The green symbol in the map indicates organic farms. 

Tip #4: Eating your way through North Karelia

60 North Karelian food companies (restaurants, tourism companies, bakeries, and other food processing companies and producers) have joined forces and created the webpage Karelia á la carte

The site provides descriptions of all the individual companies and provides links to their own webpages or Facebook pages. The short introductions to these companies are in English. Languages available on their individual websites or Facebook pages depend on the company in question. 

Homemade karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pie)

Tip #5: Finnish country wineries

Currently, there are about 25 wineries in Finland. Finnish wineries produce wines and liqueurs from berries and fruits. They also often offer sparkling wines, ciders, and other sparkling drinks and juices. 

Many of then may also provide a variety of travel experiences: wine tastings, food, nature trails, adventure parks, meeting and event services, etc. 

You can use this website to find out their exact locations and links to their individual webpages. 

Resources to use for eating well at home

While the above apps and websites are great when you are traveling in Finland and trying to find local foods and services, there are other resources to use when you want to find locally produced foods near your home. The next few tips are great for eating locally produced food in Finland.  

Tip #6: REKO retail and distribution networks for locally produced food

REKO retail and distribution model is based on closed Facebook groups run by volunteers. These volunteers are unpaid and do not have a stake in the transactions that take place. 

In these Facebook groups, local producers accept orders straight from consumers and agree on the delivery location and date. 

If you are interested in finding out whether there is a REKO-ring in your local area, go to this website. It has a map of all existing REKO-rings and a link to the appropriate Facebook group.

Tip #7: In need of specific locally produced or sold food items? Try aitojamakuja.fi

Aitojamakuja.fi is the website of a public and university sector project that aims to support local small businesses in the food sector in Finland. 

They have a website where you can search for local small businesses that either sell or produce and sell different food items. Not all of the producers and grocers are organic, but you can also limit your search to organically produced products. 

The search engine is available in English although the descriptions of individual hits are in Finnish. 

Tip #8: Truly eating locally in Finland: picking your own berries

As we have explained in a previous blog, everyman’s rights in Finland allow you to go into the forests and pick your own berries and mushrooms. Bilberries are currently ripening in southern Finland and certain mushrooms are also coming up.

There are a few resources you can use to find out when to head out and pick berries. These sites are both in Finnish but are still relatively easy to use even if you don’t know the language.

In the mustikkaan.fi service you either type in your location or allow the site to identify your current location. The service then gives you a short verbal description of the state of the bilberry harvest at the moment. 

The Marjahavainnot website shows on a map berry sightings by volunteers. It gives you the sightings for bilberries (mustikka), lingonberries (puolukka), and cloudberries (suomuurain). If you want to see whether there are any ripe berries in your area, just click on “kypsät marjat” under the berry you are interested in. The map then shows the areas in which local volunteers have seen ripe berries in Finland.  The sightings lag about a week behind the actual situation. So it might make sense to see when volunteers have seen unripe berries (raakileet) in your area and extrapolate from that. 

If you do go berry picking, don’t go alone and download the 112 Suomi app into your phone in case you get lost and need help. 

Our featured image is of Sjundby ice cream. You can read more about the ice cream on their webpages.

NOTE: We are not in any commercial partnership with any of the apps, websites, or individual producers we feature here.

The mission of Finnwards is to help you build a uniquely Finnish life for yourself and your family. Our online tutorials will give you the information and tools to you need to succeed in your professional and private life in Finland: https://school.finnwards.com/

Minna
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