The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Little Finland hosts Sunday dinner

 

November 4, 2019

Kim E. Strom/Daily Globe

JOANN LYTLE of Iola, admires a wood cookstove in the Harma House at Little Finland, Sunday. The cabin was built in 1921 and features a loom, a cream separater, an antique sewing machine, old wooden skis and ski boots and a thunder mug, among other items. Little Finland's gift shop is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Dec. 21. They will reopen in April of 2020.

By KIM E. STROM

kstrom@yourdailyglobe.com

Hurley - More than 100 people took part in Little Finland's community stew dinner on Sunday in Hurley. Kala Mojakka and beef stew with Finn pie (bread) was on the menu along with an assortment of desserts.

Kala Mojakka is not Finnish for fish stew. It actually translates to "fish, more Jacob."

According to Finnish teacher, Seija Jarvenpaa, kala means fish. As for the the rest of the name, the story has it that in the lumber camps in the area there was a cook named Jacob. When the workers wanted more fish stew, they would say, "mojakka" meaning, more, Jacob. (Jacob in Finnish is spelled Jaakko.) And dessert is called jalki ruoka, meaning "after food." Jarvenpaa gives free Finnish lessons at the center.

Although Sunday's stew did not contain fish heads, the Finn's traditionally made the broth with every part of the fish, including the head, said head cook Sonja Luoma who said of the turnout Sunday, "It's wonderful! Much more than last year. People got a taste for that kala mojakka and came back for more."

After dinner, volunteer Steve Schurtter of the NFAF, or National Finnish-American Festival cultural center known as Little Finland, gave a tour of the Harma and Haaro houses dating 1921 and 1905 respectively.

Schurtter said that although many Finnish-American people come to visit, the center is for "anyone that got off of a boat from somewhere," he said. "People from all over the world stop here." Schurtter himself is Swedish. When he retired, friends and family asked if he would go south to warmer climates. "I did go south," he says. "the south shore of Lake Superior."

The houses featured antiques such as a loom, a cream separator, an old sewing machine, a wood cook stove, 8-foot long wooden skis with boots that were curled at the toe, "not for cute," said Schurtter of the style. "It was for functionality," a traditional Finnish dress and even a thunder mug.

Schurtter will give a tour anytime someone wants one, but soon the cabins will be boarded up for the winter. The gift shop, which keeps the center afloat, is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The gift shop will close on Dec. 21 and reopen at the end of April.

 
 

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