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The Laihonen couple found a home in a former bank building in the village of Lahti
Johanna ja Kalle Laihonen kasvimaalla.

The Laihonen couple found a home in a former bank building in the village of Lahti

  • Garlic cultivation is the entrepreneurial couple's shared passion.

Kalle Laihonen, an entrepreneur in the wellness and fitness sector, would have made his late grandmother proud if she could see the lush vegetable gardens in Lahti village on a June evening. The potatoes have thrived in the early summer warmth, and the robust onion stalks promise a good harvest.

For his grandmother, who was from the village of Palsa in Kalanti, potatoes were a crucial – perhaps the most crucial – part of a meal. When her youngest son traveled to Nepal long ago, she ensured he would have potatoes during his journey.

Kalle and his wife, Johanna Laihonen, are wellness entrepreneurs in Uusikaupunki. Both are trained as massage therapists and personal trainers. Johanna specializes in nutrition counseling, lymphatic therapy, and sound bowl relaxation, while Kalle’s specialty is sports massage.

In the spring, they acquired new premises in the center of Uusikaupunki, next to the market square, in the old fire station building.

Kukkaruukut ikkunalla.

Their home, also an old building, is located deep in the countryside in the village of Lahti in Kalanti. The oldest part of the building dates back to the 1870s.

-The house still operated as a branch of Kalanti Savings Bank until the early 1990s. The newer part housed the post office.

There used to be three banks and a shop in Lahti village,” Johanna says.

The Laihonen couple have long been residents of Uusikaupunki. Kalle moved to the city with his family from Naantali when he was 11. Johanna, born in Tampere and having spent her childhood in Laitila, settled in the city as a young adult.

The sporty couple met at an ice rink in 2000. Since then, they have been inseparable, even though they initially didn’t admit they were dating. For the past five years, they have also been business partners in their joint venture.

The Laihonen cuople moved to Kalanti eleven years ago during midsummer.

This has definitely been our dearest home,” Johanna says.

The old wooden house along Lahdentie was a perfect find for them as they were looking for a small house with a large yard. A place where they could grow crops and have space for their beloved huskies.

Their free time from spring to autumn is spent in the yard, which has completely transformed during their tenure.

A field of oats has given way to sea buckthorns, fruit trees, strawberries, raspberries, and plots of onions and potatoes.

Kasvihuoneen kurkku.

The greenhouse houses herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers, which also grow in pots on the terrace. Johanna and Kalle are completely smitten with garlic. When home-grown, it’s juicy and aromatic.

– And also very healthy, Johanna says.

Kalle proudly talks about their winter garlic, which has a very old strain originating from Russia.

–We received it from Liisa and Klaus Peurla, who live in the village of Haimio and brought the garlic from the Winter Garden in St. Petersburg in the 1970s.They have also given us a lot of valuable information on organic farming, Kalle explains.

–In good conditions, they grow into enormous, fist-sized bulbs, Johanna adds.

Their farming hobby has expanded to the point where they are considering whether to sell some of the garlic crop. So far, they have used it themselves and given it as gifts to friends and acquaintances.

–I have marinated and canned some of it, Johanna says.

Johanna kastelee kasvihuoneessa.

Johanna’s green thumb starts itching at the beginning of the year when she browses seed catalogs. By then, the laborious gardening work of the previous summer is just a memory.

–Every autumn, I declare that we’re moving to an apartment. I swear that next summer, we’ll only plant a hundred garlic bulbs. But when spring comes, we end up planting 400, Johanna laughs.

One of the best parts of living in the countryside, they think, is the produce from their own yard, but they also like to visit local farm shops

–We often go to Heinonen’s farm shop for eggs and other local products. I once called it the market on Peteksentie, Johanna says.

Pihapuoti Heinosen tuotteita.
Pihapuoti Heinonen’s product selection.

They are now planning to get their own chickens. It was Kalle’s idea, but Johanna is already warming up to it.

–With us, it goes like this: Kalle plans, I get excited, and then I take action, she reveals.

However, the idea of chickens wandering around the yard is still on hold as the couple, who used to travel the world, would like to travel again.

– You can’t travel anywhere with chickens. We don’t intend to become chicken caravanners,” Johanna says.

Kalle once considered getting Mangalitza pigs. They quickly realized they wouldn’t be cut out for raising livestock.

– I thought they’d probably end up sitting next to us on the couch at Christmas, Kalle chuckles.

Kalle seisoo pihalla.

The well-being of animals and people is important to them. They are not the only ones who find peace of mind in forests and the countryside.

Both are pleased that young families have recently moved to Lahti village. It’s no wonder, as even though Lahti is deep countryside, it’s close to the city center.

– It’s only ten kilometers to the market, Kalle says.

At the beginning of summer, the couple faced great sorrow when their nearly 14-year-old dog Sampo passed away. Their three dog boys, Sampo, Sisu, and Sulo, have grown into old age under the Laihonens care. With their dogs, they have hiked through forests and enjoyed the rugged scenery from the top of nearby Kuuanvuori.

Laihoset ja kaikki huskyt talvella.

Kalle has always been interested in history and reflects on how previous generations, even in tough times, knew how to appreciate the little things.

The wellness entrepreneurs think that wellness can easily turn into distress if life is pursued only with money and technology.

–I was delighted when my brother’s child said his best summer memory was picking blueberries, Johanna says.

A positive outlook on life and humor bring joy to life.

Kalle digs up another legendary saying from his grandmother’s stories: “Tell them that we’re not doing badly either,” he recalls his grandmother’s message to a relative who shared their family news over the landline from abroad. on Uudenkaupungin kaupungin elinkeinopalveluiden julkaisu, jossa tuodaan esiin uusikaupunkilaista asumista ja elämäntapaa.
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