The pioneering organic herb farmers at Frantsila Farm, the people behind the Midsummer Rose natural cosmetics line, share their hard-earned knowledge of joyful “being and well-being,” an idea that sits at the very heart of their educational philosophy and agricultural practice.
Frantisla is, above all, a family farm, composed of old 17th century buildings, vast fields and detailed still lifes made out of dried roses and vintage objects. When we first arrive to the farm, a place where herbs and flowers have been grown by the same family for centuries, it feels like time has stopped, as we look for our host, Anna, the daughter-in-law of Virpi Raipala-Cormier, the founder of Frantsila organic herb farm, which, after 30 years of operation, now produces over 200 natural health and cosmetics products.
We find Anna between the blooming lilacs and the oldest house in the courtyard, picking flowers and talking on her phone. She is pure sunshine, and welcomes everyone with a hug. As we stroll around the farm, we are introduced to Virpi and her husband Jim Cormier, as well as their son and Anna’s husband Jupiter and their two children, Ossian and Edith. In addition to the latest three generations of the family, there are people everywhere, some of whom are focused on taking care of Virpi’s and Jim’s astounding garden. Featuring a combination of rare herbs, beautiful blooming flowers and experiments with orchids and willow huts, the garden is straight out of a fairy tale.
”We grow all the herbs used in our products here at the farm”, says Jupiter Cormier, the CEO of the company, ”except the ones that don’t manage in the Finnish climate, which are imported from elsewhere. In this way, we are able to ensure the quality and effectiveness of our products, through our carefully regulated organic farming methods and manufacturing process, which is all done at our own factory, situated close to the fields.”
Every stage of the production, from planting the flowers and herbs to final packing of the products, takes place at Frantsila Farm, located near Tampere, Finland. As pioneers of organic herb farming in Finland, Virpi and Jim have researched and developed their views on a holistic approach to mental, physical and emotional well-being for the last thirty years. While mastering many aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as yoga and meditation, Virpi has also created a remarkable variety of natural beauty products.
”My mission in life is to educate people about mental and physical well-being, through teaching yoga and sharing my knowledge of herbs and their healing powers. Luckily, I met my husband Jim while studying in Canada as a young woman, and he shares my interests and ambitions in life.” She smiles happily and leads the way to her morning yoga spot, with a view to a lake and the fields below.
Like Virpi, her son Jupiter went abroad to find a companion and loved one, with whom to share his life’s work. As an international politics student in England, unbeknownst to him, he met a Finnish girl at a cafe and started a conversation only to find out that they shared a common homeland and language. When Anna returned to Finland after finishing her Art degree, they met again and fell in love.
“My mission in life is to educate people about mental and physical wellbeing, through teaching yoga and sharing my knowledge of herbs and their healing powers.”
— Virpi Raipala-Cormier
After several years of living in Helsinki, Jupiter and Anna returned to Frantsila and are now continuing the family business. Their children, Ossian and Edith, are spending their childhood days on the farm, surrounded by the beautiful houses and flower fields. Working side by side with Virpi and Jim, Jupiter and Anna are continuing to develop the family legacy. The company is planning to release several new products later this year, as well offer a number of well-being courses at the farm, including a “Power in Flowers” foraging and wild-crafting tour, which was voted one of VisitFinland’s top well-being experiences, where participants learn how to make their very own wellness product. And, given the beautiful, natural ingredients growing all around us on our visit, we can’t imagine a more idyllic place to learn about the power and multi-form benefits of nature.
ITEM is a Helsinki based design & lifestyle magazine. We curate and contextualize selections of items, through interviews and stories, which focus on one or another aspect of Finnish art, design, fashion, and wellness.