Porlammi dairy is the only cheese factory in Southern Finland, read more about our long history
Porlammin Osuusmeijeri is an independent cooperative owned by milk producers. It was founded in 1920. The cooperative involves 18 milk producers and employs 15 employees.
In 2010, Porlammin Osuusmeijeri accepted 6.5 million liters of milk with a turnover of 8 million Euro. Its main products are Emmental cheese, grated cheeses, cheese slices and processed cheeses.
Porlammi dairy sells its products to retail, industrial kitchens and the food industry. Porlammin Osuusmeijeri has produced Emmental cheese since the founding of the dairy.
It is the only cheese factory left in Southern Finland. The black label Emmental of Porlammi has gained a considerable market share in Finland, and it is also exported abroad.
(Video is in Finnish language)
The transitions of agriculture
The farmer has always formed the backbone of Finnish society. They have always loved personal freedom and independence. Therefore production facilities founded by farmers reflect the ideology idolizing the farmers’ freedom. The history of Porlammin Osuusmeijeri includes three major agricultural transitions.
After various events, the first major transition to occur during the previous century resulted in a wave of dairy cooperatives. As the forest industry became a major player in national economy and an essential source of financing for agricultural projects, the founding of dairies became crucial.
The second major transition of agriculture began in the 1950s, and it became the ruin of many small dairies. The request for rationalization, increased cost of living and the safeguarding of the greater Helsinki area milk supply in Uusimaa resulted in a state of agitation which also almost destroyed Porlammin Osuusmeijeri.
The third major transition emerged when Finland joined the European Union. As a result, the borders opened up for cheap foreign cheese, and almost all small cheese factories had to close up shop as operation was no longer profitable. This third phase was a very heavy time for Porlammin Osuusmeijeri, as well.
Porlammin Osuusmeijeri is and always will be an embodiment of the entrepreneurship and need for freedom of the Finnish farmer. The dairy survived all the transitions, coming out a winner.
Manor dairies have been the trailblazers of dairy operation in Finland. At the end of the 19th century, the example set by these dairies resulted in a wave of dairy companies; for Porlammi, this phase lasted for a quarter of a century. The introduction of the separator, good traffic connections and the profitability of butter production made livestock farming by far the most important production branch of agriculture.
Dairy operation in Porlammi was first begun by a Swiss tenant of the manor, Gotfrid Gerner. The Porlammi manor dairy was in operation for a total of almost 65 years up until 1946, when it became a member of Porlammin Osuusmeijeri. The first dairy company in Porlammi was founded in 1894. Soon after the Tyyskänmäki dairy was founded, followed by a dairy company to replace the current Osuusmeijeri.
The founding of Porlammin Osuusmeijeri
The founding of Porlammin Osuusmeijeri was first discussed in earnest in 1913. The idea of a dairy cooperative didn’t get enough support, so Kaarlo Vuorenalho, Ilmari Myyrä and Kalle Vähämartti, who had been involved in the discussion, decided to found a dairy company. Most of their contracts were oral – a man’s word could be trusted at the time. The dairy company founded by the three men bought a building lot from the village common land, and there they built a cheese cellar and a dairy building.
Five years after the founding of the dairy company, the idea of a dairy cooperative re-emerged. The constituent meeting of Osuusmeijeri was held on January 20, 1920, when the deepest cuts of the Finnish Civil War were just closing and the new era of development was off to a good start. During the post-war financial shortage, it was only natural that Valio, the central firm of the dairy industry, helped troubled dairies with advance payments.
Of course, Valio had its limitations, too; this resulted in a severe elimination of dairies. Porlammi was not given any advance payments, and Osuusmeijeri was under threat of closing down. Porlammi could not accept the closing of the dairy, its only industrial facility. After tough negotiations, the town founded its own export company.