Our story

Yli-Pihanpera’s history

Located in Kalanni, Finland, Yli-Pihanpera is one of the locality’s so-called stock farms. The farm produced charcoal for Mannainten Ruukki, located in the center of Kalanni, in the 18th century. During the Russian rule, Ruukki’s production was stopped, and the farm switched from charcoal to farming and livestock farming.

Atso Aikola, the grandfather of the current owner of the farm, Juha-Pekka Aikola, bought the Yli-Pihanpera farm for himself in 1961. Atso was a neighbor’s son, from a farm on the other side of a nearby lake, and he knew the farm’s soft soil was good for farming. When he brought his family to the farm he bought for the first time, there was a temporary grain store in the main building’s shed, and when she saw the pile, the daughter burst into tears, shouting: “We will never move here!”

As always, the work on the farm was hard and that was enough. As an energetic and innovative man, Atso and his two brothers, who also had their own farms in Kalanti, like many others, founded a piggery in the early 1970’s.

In 1982, my father Kai Aikola and my mother Leena bought the farm and the responsibility for the farm was transferred to them. There were a couple of better years in the 80’s, but even before the EU it was clear that there was a need to specialize more.

We lived through the difficult beginning of the 1990’s recession. The EU came with regulations and changed agricultural systems radically – the time of rapid changes began. The farm tried every vegetable, and like many other farms, bunch onion production began to expand.

“When we entered the 21st century, we had to think properly as a group, whether someone would continue this space, or whether we would put it into circulation”,

“That’s not it, exactly one volunteer was found and then we started to develop it again. So, potatoes in the ground and after a couple of monitored spring with abundant rain, it started to become clear that maybe it would be better to do something else for the sake of my mental and physical health”, recalls JP.

Interest in environmental issues and resource efficiency led to the conclusion to develop bean cultivation. “That’s the way we are, without forgetting other roots, vegetables, firewood, logs, planks, logs and practically all the biomass that grows on the plot”.

“At the farm, we want to respect Finnish food production, the heritage of our fathers and pure nature.”

Finland turns one hundred years old at this point. From a historical point of view, the farm has undergone several big changes during that time. Only one thing has remained; the arable area has been the same all along, in fact at least since 1848.

These unyielding ingredients gave birth to the Vihrea Harka – strength from natural plant protein!