Welcome to Homefarm Life, the digital accompaniment to the upcoming Finnish cookbook Homefarm written by Kristina Vänni with photography by Eric Kleinberg.
Although this cookbook project is in its infancy, the story behind it began 117 years ago. In 1899 at the age of 25 my Great-Grandmother, Josefiina Pitäkranta, left her small family farm in Peräseinäjoki, Finland for a new life in the United States. She arrived with her older sister, Gustava, to become the first and only members of my extensive Finnish family to immigrate to America. I can’t imagine the courage it must have taken for these two young women to leave everything they knew and loved for an unknown future in a mysterious new land. Their fearlessness, independence and sense of adventure are qualities I strive to embody in my life everyday.
(My Great-Grandmother Josefiina, left. Her sister, Gustava, right.)
Over a century later, in 2012, I embarked on the opposite voyage, traveling from the United States back to Finland. The journey was to visit the family dairy farm where my great-grandmother was born, and to finally see firsthand the roots of father’s family. It was an incredible, life-altering moment, finding myself walking the very same rich pastures my great-grandmother had tread so many years before. Most importantly, this trip introduced me to a welcome abundance of cousins, all relatives of the brothers and sisters my great-grandma had left behind. Even though we had grown up an ocean apart speaking different languages, our connections were instantaneous. We all agreed, it felt as if we had lived just down the street our entire lives. It soon became apparent that time and borders are no limit to the familial bond. For the family in Finland, it felt as if a piece of their puzzle, missing for over 100 years, had been found. For all of us back in the United States, we knew the true breadth of our story was just beginning.
In the summer of 2015 my parents and sister joined me on another trip back to the farm. During this historic family reunion, there were many moments where we sat around the kitchen table, laughing, telling stories and savoring bites of homemade baked goods along with an ice cold glass of farm fresh milk. It was at this table when I came to realize that these beautiful moments, this unique family story, and these incredible recipes had to be shared. The unique seasonal cuisine of this region and the classic Finnish recipes passed down through the generations in this farmhouse deserved to be documented. As a food writer, this was my calling. Thus, the inspiration to write a Finnish Homefarm cookbook was born.
This website is designed to be an online resource to journal the process of creating this cookbook. Follow along as our creative team documents life on the farm throughout the seasons. We will showcase the unique seasonal ingredients of this region, festive holiday recipes and classic Finnish favorites.