Our group focused in investigating the local food scene in Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä is located in the heart of central Finland and has great access to lakes, farming land, forests and the like, providing great opportunities for companies to invest into local and slow food. We chose three different places; fish store Mäkinen, roastery Papu and restaurant Taikuri, because we felt that these places have very deep roots in Jyväskylä and make full use of the opportunities our great environment provides for slow food.
Fish store Mäkinen
For one part of our assignment, we visited fish store Mäkinen, since the restaurant Street Food Taikuri, which we also visited, purchases some of their seafood items from Mäkinen. Fish shop Mäkinen is a family company located near the city center in Jyväskylä, with the founders originally coming from Pori in 1929. The shop is owned by two siblings who are the third generation of the store’s owners, with their parents owning the place before them, but they also have one non-related employee. The current owners inherited the store in December 2009, but the company has experience of over 80 years. They also sell fish at Jyväskylä’s market square all year around.
The store gets a fresh batch of fish every morning, with the majority of their local fish coming from lake Keitele, but a few products such as atlantic salmon and a few other items come from wholesale or Gulf of Bothnia, which is the northernmost arm of the Baltic sea located in between Sweden and Finland. The fishermen catch the fish by using a fishing net or a travel net. The store owners are very loyal, as they are always using the same fishermen and very often meet face to face with the fishermen when they get their local fish products.
Their customers consist of residential customers, but they also have a few big clients such as vocational school Priimus, S-markets in Laukaa and Äänekoski and the local restaurants Sohwi, Harmooni, Kissanviikset and Taikuri.
We discussed the future of the store and fish as a market item in general with the owner, and we agreed that the price of fish is very high, but it’s also gaining popularity all the time because of its health benefits and also because fish is a very local ingredient in Finland. Nowadays it’s used more in the dinner table than in the past, but still it’s used more at Christmas and Midsummer parties. All in all, the future of the company is looking bright, because people really want to get fresh and local food, and they don’t want to use market chains as much for their fresh food items.
Roastery Papu was founded in 2014 by Ristopekka Piirainen and Virpi Hyvärinen. They found business state at Yliopistonkatu where they decided to start a roastery. Roastery Papu was something new in Jyväskylä, something that wasn’t here before. The owner Ristopekka said that all of their coffees are organic, and that they come all around the world from about 20 different countries.
Their company has many partners in central Finland, such as S-market, Prisma, Sale and some K-markets. Roastery Papu also sells their coffee into restaurants and cafeterias, such as Taikuri and Sohwi.
Nowadays, they have moved their roastery to shopping mall Seppä located in Seppälä, where they have a coffee shop and a cafeteria.
We tasted a cup of their Honduras coffee at restaurant Taikuri.
Ravintola Taikuri – Serving hearty street food
For the final part in our investigation of the local food scene in Jyväskylä, we decided to visit a small restaurant focusing on quick and affordable street food called restaurant Taikuri. Taikuri is located at the heart of Jyväskylä, right next to the bus stops on Vapaudenkatu, giving the restaurant very good visibility and easy accessibility. The restaurant also uses very local ingredients, with the majority of them coming from around Jyväskylä. For example, the cheese comes from Jukolan Maitotila, which is located in Leivonmäki.
The restaurant isn’t very big, having only about 30 or so seats, but the area is separated into two different floors, with the top floor being focused on being the main dining area, since the bottom floor only has a few seats, which are meant for either a single person or a company of two. The restaurant’s atmosphere is very intimate and open, as the first thing you see is the open kitchen and a wide bar counter serving a selection of different warm and cold drinks as well as sandwiches and a few other fresh food items in the vitrine. You order your food and drinks at the bottom floor’s cash register, but they are served to the table.
Our company enjoyed a quick lunch at Taikuri. Simo-Petteri ate a pulled pork bun and Jaakko had a seitan bun. The dishes were very tasty, with the greens having a very fresh taste and the sauces used on the proteins had a very distinct and rich taste – A+!
Text and pictures: Simo Petteri Kovanen, Jaakko Ahvo, Liisa Autio