Love at first sight

The story of Bovik Organic Farm, located in the southern Finnish coastal town of Tammisaari, began in the early 1980s when fashion photographer Sebastian Nurmi, a Helsinki native, was on the hunt for a rural base of operations in the scenic province of western Uusimaa. What he found, instead of the cottage he had envisioned, was a forty-acre homestead farm.

Though he had no idea what to do with the land, he had taken such a fancy to the place that there was nothing to do but to make an appointment with the bank manager and close the deal.

At first, the master of Bovik used the farm only occasionally, for both work and relaxation, but gradually it became his permanent home. It was then that he also first grew conscious of the need to tend to the land: the farm’s once well-kept fields had been let fall fallow, pushing willow bushes and alder as thick as a man’s arm.

Since this undertaking called for knowledge the city-born and raised Sebastian lacked, he decided to go back to school. After taking every course available, he finally came across one focusing on organic farming and sheep husbandry. The idea hit him like a ton of bricks, and the dream started to take shape: perhaps it was time for a change of life, a transition from the world of fashion to traditional organic sheep farming.

The final seal to the dream came in the form of Ülle, a friend of a friend who “came to Bovik for a visit and never found her way home again”. The farm’s first sheep – eleven ewes and a ram – were purchased in 1991, only a year after Ülle had become mistress of Bovik.

Since those days, the farm has expanded into new fields both literally and figuratively. More land has been acquired and the number of animals reared has been constantly climbing. Bovik has won particular acclaim for its lamb, a favourite of gourmet restaurants and individual gourmands alike, but it has also been recognised for its landscape management and its range of wool and sheepskin products. Most recently, the farm has augmented its livestock with the Eastern Finncattle or kyyttö cattle.

Though much has changed over the years, the values of the farm’s owners remain the same. Their watchwords are an organic approach and sustainable development, fostering native breeds and traditions, the humane treatment of livestock that goes hand in hand with small-scale husbandry, and close collaboration and cooperation with other local entrepreneurs.