Harmas is a rare treat
Four years ago, Tiina Hirvonen took over the small family farm Soinilanmäki in Savonlinna. The farm had 14 hectares of its own land, and the barn with 15 cows had been left empty in 1996.
Now the area of farmland owned and rented has almost doubled. The old barn is home to around forty ewes and six rams, with the experienced Jahti as their boss. All are Kainuu Harmas, a breed of sheep native to Finland that was thought to be extinct. In the early 1980s, the last surviving individuals of the breed were found and the rescue of the breed began.
I want to know the sheep by name and as individuals, I don't want hundreds of them. I want to keep production small and intensive.
- entrepreneur Tiina Hirvonen, Soinilanmäki sheep farm
The Harmas breed are born black, often variegated, and grey as they age in different shades of black, grey, brown and white. The breed is still rare and an important objective of the new breeding branch is to contribute to the preservation and maintenance of a valuable indigenous breed. Indeed, the Hirvonen principle for the Harvester is to keep the breed pure and to breed it while preserving and enhancing its typical characteristics.
Sheep spend the summer growing season grazing and are involved in landscape management, for example, in Heinävesi in the Valamo Monastery. Each spring and autumn lambing season produces around fifty lambs. The Harmas breeds are sociable and get used to people. They are suitable for therapeutic work with children and the elderly.
Harmas grows more slowly than other sheep and, with the right feeding, its meat is tastier and less fatty.
The meat is sold in the farm shop and directly to restaurants. An entire product line has been built around the unique indigenous breed in Soinilanmäki, which includes not only meat but also robes, wool yarns and jewellery.
Tel. 050 534 5598
D.O. Saimaa -labelled products
- Fresh meat
- Further processed products such as cured meat