Operation of the Farm
The organic sheep farm of Rantakorpi offers joyous experiences amidst animals and nature. We make sure our animals can lead a life as free and natural as possible. In addition to affectionate sheep the farm is inhabited by horses and a few Eastern Finncattle cows. A colourful flock of chickens potters about in the yard and ducks frolic by the lake. A jolly welcome committee of their own is manned by the mixed-breed dog Nala, the border collie shepherds Fani and Ruska and the gregarious cats Vilppu and Nappi. The estate offers possibilities galore, from trail rides to farm visits and rehabilitation activities with the animals and work on farm. In Rantakorpi you can, among other things, get acquainted with the work of shepherd dogs and wool handling, try felting and even stay overnight for an authentic countryside experience. The visitors are served by the barn boutique with its seasonal farm products, while the stable room is the place to meet for visitors and course attendants. A small-scale art enterprise also runs on the premises in addition to the production of personalized story books for children.
Rantakorpi features an open doors day 2-4 times a year, and at other times the boutique can be visited as agreed. We recommend booking well in advance for animal tours and other farm visits, since the farm is a busy place especially in summer! (Note: this is not a petting zoo, so the animals can’t be independently interacted with.)
In terms of agriculture the estate grows hay and oats to feed its own animals, and organic garlic is produced on a small scale.
The History of Rantakorpi
The Rantakorpi estate was cleaved off from the larger main estate of Korpi in the early 1930’s. Originally it only featured an acre of fields, compared to the current amount of 20 acres. The first buildings rose before the war, between 1934-37. The estate owners at that time were the current owner Johanna Koivuluoma’s great grandparents Anna-Liisa and Martti Mäkinen. While Martti was out on the war front, Anna-Liisa took care of the farm with the help of prisoners of war and accommodated evacuees.
Rantakorpi has had a colourful production history: managing a small herd of milking cows, breeding pigs, growing hay, producing peat and keeping a few sheep.
Johanna’s parents Marita and Ilpo later produced organic garlic on the farm, and Johanna herself moved to the estate as an enterpreneur in 2011. Rantakorpi is located on the shores of a diverse bird lake, the Pieni Kaihlanen. The picturesque lake has been rehabilitated for birds several times, and a part of it belongs to Natura- land.
Sheep and Sheep Products
Rantakorpi breeds two original Finnish sheep breeds, Finnsheep in all colours (black, brown and white) as well as the rarer Kainuu Grey. Lambing takes place between March and April, leading up to a summer spent on the pastures. In late autumn and March it’s possible to pre-order fresh meat straight from the farm, cut and packaged at the abattoir. The meat is mainly sold as half a carcass cut into fine pieces, which makes it more affordable for the consumers.
Smaller pieces are also available, and we aim to keep the freezers stocked with a selection of lamb, Eastern Finncattle and mutton sausages all year round. The barn boutique offers mutton preserves, the hides of our own sheep in different colours, yarn, fluffy yarn and felting sheets. The yarns are well suited for plant dyes.
The estate is home to a small herd of happy horses, who have the freedom to roam freely around the year in the free range shed, the big forest enclosure and pastures. The horses are primarily unshod and ridden without bits. Rantakorpi is ideal for relaxing trail rides occasionally or weekly, and it’s possible to partially rent horses. The surrounding nature and animals provide an excellent environment for refreshment and relaxation. The horses are calm, safe to handle and secure in traffic, well-suited for social pedagogical activities and other Green Care- types of activities. A few stalls are available for guest horses, and small-scale breeding also takes place on the estate.
The herding dogs of Rantakorpi are the absolute best workmates and help energetically in daily tasks with the sheep and cattle. The two dogs, Felltop Fanny aka Fani and Ruska, are work-line border collies. Fani is an indispensable, diligent black-and-white collie with a constant pedal to the metal – she’s also already a veteran sheep dog, whom we acquired already trained. Ruska is Fani’s beautifully brown, happy and sensitive daughter. She is trained by us and already has a good grip on all the work on the farm. The training journey has been long and interesting; we’ve made progress step by step and gotten to rejoice for each milestone with much learning and growing together. Rantakorpi occasionally organises shepherding courses and training sessions together with other herders in the area.
The eastern variety of Finnish cattle ”kyyttö” is the most endangered of the three national cattle breeds. The moniker kyyttö comes from the white stripe on the back, resembling the coloration of a viper – ”kyy” in Finnish. They are small but filled with peppery personality, the handling of which sometimes requires good nerves and a load of humor. Eastern Finncattle are excellent caretakers of the environment due to their lightness and small size, which lets them thrive in salt marshes, for example. The easily digestible A2-type milk of Eastern Finncattle is rich in fat and protein, The milk is suited for making cheese, and the estate does produce small amounts of cheese for clients. Mostly the milk is used for our own consumption – it’s lovely to drink and perfect for making yoghurt, sour milk, buttermilk, butter, cheeses and ice cream. The first three years we milked the cows by hand, but now we use a small milking machine to make daily life easier. The tasty, tender meat of Eastern Finncattle can be bought from the barn boutique. We’re currently planning on organising courses for new cattle owners, called ”Oma Lehmä Ojassa” (own cow in the ditch)- a Finnish saying indicating a vested interest in something, having some skin in the game.
The Rantakorpi estate is an organic farm. This means that we don’t use herbicides, pesticides or artificial fertilisers, and the animals have lots of space to roam and organic feed to eat. Our pastures are fertilised with a mixture of manure, straw and turf, which has spent the winter in the sheep pen and is additionally composted in the stack. Occasionally the fields are given additional calcium and legumes take care of the nitrate content of the soil. On the grass-dominated estate weeds aren’t much of a problem, but they’re repelled by cutting, diverse seed mixes and harrowing the earth before sowing. When a good growth is maintained in the pastures, the earth stays healthy and hardy while forming a lush layer of soil.
This is how carbon binding is done! The key to it is a sufficiently frequent, correctly timed cycling of pastures. Things don’t always go right and the weather can play tricks, but the effort is still often rewarded!
From the direction of Jyväskylä (33 km away), turn right to Niementie (the sign says Korvenkylä 2) before the train track goes beneath the road, and drive right for 2 km. Turn left to Rantakorventila (Note: some navigators tell you to turn too early, leading to the yard of the neighbouring property). Drive for 800 m, through two sharp L-curves and a downhill towards the shore, where a red house and barn is visible.
From the direction of Kuopio, drive through the village of Niemisjärvi, over the train tracks towards Häppälänmäki for about 3 km, then turn right to Rantakorventie and follow it straight for 800 m.
On the Rantakorpi farm, Finnish sheep and Eastern Finnish cattle are raised on a small scale. The farm offers horseback riding trips, experiences with farm animals and sheep products.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development has supported the construction of this website
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