SMALL-SCALE VEGETABLE PRODUCTION FROM GARLIC TO MANGOLD
The small farm of Lehtokumpu in the village of Palopuro in Hyvinkää specializes in growing vegetables. The organic farm was established in 2008 when we, Kari and Päivi Koppelmäki, moved to the countryside to an old veteran’s house. The family also includes two children.
We moved into farming over time, almost by accident. We both have a degree in environmental planning. Kari also has a MA in Natural Resources and is working on his complementary studies. When we moved to the countryside after graduating, we wanted to start growing vegetables for our own needs. The cultivations grew, continuously producing bigger crops, which meant we could start selling them. Our operations have therefore grown little by little, without a clear plan.
As farmers, we have both started from scratch: neither of us grew up in the countryside, nor studied the field. We have, however, always been interested in food, and Kari is currently working on his doctoral thesis at Helsinki university, which touches on localizing the food system.
We grow organic vegetables both in a greenhouse and in a field. Garlic is our most important product. We also grow about twenty other vegetables including pumpkin, tomatoes, cabbages, zucchini, broad beans, green beans, mangold and different salad varieties. We also produce some seedlings for our customers. Besides growing vegetables, we also produce regular honey.
Organic farming comes naturally to us, because we have always grown vegetables without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, we lack experience in any other way of doing things.
We joined the food hub, because we were interested in new sales channels. Marketing and sales are hard work for farmers that sell their products directly to the consumer. And seeing how vegetable farming is our second day job, time really is of the essence.