My Karelian grandparents moved to Suurniemi in the beginning 1950. Back then Suurniementie was a narrow path and during spring it was very hard to navigate through, so for the rest of the trip the moving load had to be transported with a horse. Unlike in my grandfather’s old childhood home in Viipuri, on the other side of the Finnish-Russian border, there was no electricity at all on the farm. Compared to modern day, my grandparents and their children were having a real pioneer life! Due to them being in bad shape, they made trips to the grocery and visited neighbors on the opposite side of the coast in Karjalohja that was easily traveled to via boat on serene days. At the farm they practiced agriculture and raising livestock, and during winter trees were cut down in the nearby forest and brought back to a log floating spot by horse. After the ice from the lake were gone, the logs were transported via lake to a sawmil in Hiidensalmen Saha, Lohja.
The farms first rental cottage was finished around Midnight Summer in 1986 and its first visitors were a group of four from Japan. The group had rented the cottage via Lomarengas and traveled to the capital city, Helsinki all the way from Vladivostok! From Helsinki they continued their trip via taxi. In Suurniemi the group was welcomed by my grandfather who had no language skills whatsoever, however due to his Karelian nature the tourests were never a problem to him. For example, he taught them how to prepare a sauna via practical examples and body language.
Suurniemi is filled with old apple trees and the farmyard used to hold a small apple orchard, which grew a variety of different apples like Åkerö, Antonovka and Keltakaneli. Unfortunately they couldn’t survive the freezing weather conditions during Winter War. Apples began to be cultivated on larger scale in 1999 when my parents planted the first trees. In our Sirkkalehto audited orchard we follow the methods of integrated plant protection. The harvesting is done by people and the harvest is delivered to a packing center in Karjalohja daily. Apples of Suurniemi can be found in groceries all around Finland from early fall to the start of the next year!