Svarfvars Organic Farm

News

Svarfvars Farm presented the Martha Organization and the Martha restaurant with an award for exemplary promotion of Finnish gastronomy. Along with the certificate, we gave the Marthas a basketful of delicacies.

As in 2010, Svarfvars Farm set up a restaurant garden at the roof of the Savoy restaurant in central Helsinki.

Savoy Restaurant roof garden in 2010

"The stimulus for the project came from the restaurant staff. Some of the chefs had become acquainted with the possibilities of urban farming, and they asked me to join them, together with some “urban farming activists” and an architect, in designing a garden. As I was supplying the restaurant with organic products, it felt natural for me to take part in the design.

Out of several alternatives, we decided on a roof garden model that makes use of the polystyrene fish boxes readily available at the restaurant, placed on top of purpose-built metal tables. For watering, we chose a drip irrigation system. The crops included lettuces, herbs, and edible flowers, as well as strawberries and radishes. The plants were chosen based on the idea that they could all be used in the kitchen.

After the design phase, the restaurant staff went on a spring excursion to Svarfvars Farm, and we sowed and planted herbs and lettuces together. The results were astonishing. The growing conditions up on the roof were favourable, and even a heavy thundershower did not do much damage. There were practically no pests, and in the autumn when the garden was dismantled, many of the plants were still thriving and the strawberry plants continued to yield fruit. The project attracted great attention, and restaurant customers were offered guidance. Elsewhere on the roof, there were beehives that yielded good crops as well.

In the summer of 2011, the garden will be set up in the same way as in the previous year, and future plans include extending the garden to the extensive roof area of the building. We are also developing a method of producing compost for the garden using the organic waste from the kitchen.

I would like to thank the staff and company management for allowing me to participate in this rewarding project."

Jukka Ahonala

The farm

Svarfvars Farm is located in the south of Finland by the old King’s Road, which in olden days led from the city of Turku in the southwest to St. Petersburg in Russia. The main building was built of wood in the traditional Finnish style about 150 years ago. Before that, there was an inn nearby, where those who travelled the Road could change horses. Old horseshoes found near the house tell of noblemen on horse riding the King's Road.

A few years ago, milk cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens were a part of the life on the farm, as was a dairy where Jukka, the current farmer, made many different products out of the milk from his cows and goats. These products were mainly sold to households in the south of Finland, along with meat from the cows.

Today the cows, most of them a Lappish breed, help maintain the traditional landscape around the farm and in larger pastures in the area. These cows are not for milking, but for breeding and keeping the landscape open. A few horses live in the stables today, and in summertime, these animals, together with horses from surrounding stables, form a big herd in the farm's pastures.

In addition to vegetables, organic feed for horses and cows is grown on the fields of Svarfvars today.

Currently, the main business of Svarfvars Farm and Hyvän Elämän Ruokakauppa Oy ("The Good Life Food Company") is organic products and their wholesale and retail sale and import.

Our vegetable business

During the summer season, vegetables and herbs are grown in the farm's fields and greenhouses. These products are sold on the marketplace, to local restaurants, and to schools. About 40 varieties of vegetables, herbs and berries are grown on the farm – including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, chilli peppers, basil, carrots, potatoes, beets, cabbages, corn, zucchini, blackberries, strawberries, and asparagus.

In the near future, a farm shop will be opened in a building next to the greenhouses. A heating centre that burns wood chips from our own woods will provide heat for the shop building and the greenhouses as well.

In wintertime, organic or biodynamic products from other farms are sold to schools, day nurseries, shops, restaurants and households through Hyvän Elämän Ruokakauppa Oy and its online shop.

At the moment, we provide home delivery of organic and biodynamic vegetables from the western parts of Uusimaa to the greater Helsinki area. This business works through the online shop. Over 2000 children in Steiner schools and kindergartens in Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Tammisaari eat the products we bring them every week, as do many restaurant customers throughout the region.

In the future, we will be expanding our selection of organic and biodynamic products and, thus, our wholesale business.

The master of Svarfvars

Jukka Ahonala is the owner of Svarfvars Farm today. He has been growing organic and biodynamic grain and vegetables on the farm since the end of the '70s. He has also been in the organic and biodynamic wholesale business for the last 20 years. Jukka acts as a consultant in the cultivation and use of organic and biodynamic vegetables, working particularly closely with chefs from school kitchens.

Contact

Jukka Ahonala
e-mail jukka.ahonala (at) svarfvars.fi
tel. +358 50 540 0168
Svarfvars Farm, Sökarvägen 90, FI-10300 Karis, Finland.