Announcing SISU STEW!

October 16, 2020

We know that things have been tough this year.

Cooler weather and declining light are upon us. Woodsheds are being filled, and there may be just a little stress about managing to “get it all done” before winter finally comes. None of this has been made any easier with COVID-19 keeping us from having our normal community gatherings. In this time, we all need some comfort, normalcy, community, and some extra determination. Wanting to offer strength, share happiness, and say thank you to our wonderful community, we are offering a special treat: Sisu Stew! Sisu stew is a harvest stew, designed to warm you to the bone and give you a little extra sisu.

Sisu is an unending determination. Something we could all use these days. Sisu is a Finnish concept, brought here by the founders of our community. Those Finnish settlers sure had a lot of sisu, and their spirit of strength and determination are still an important part of our community. Where does sisu come from? We’re not sure, but we think the support, love, and belonging that you get from a strong community can help. So with this Sisu Stew, remember that you are strong, you are loved, and all of us are rooting for each other. Let the warmth of our community warm you and give you the strength you need to make it through the coming months.

Sisu Stew is free! But to get it you will need to put in an order. Sisu stew will be available for pickup on Sunday, Nov. 1st 2020 from 2pm – 4pm at the Clair Nelson Center. To order Sisu Stew, click the link below and enter the number of people in your household. Then go to the “cart” (upper-right side of the screen) and click “checkout”. After that you just follow the on-screen instructions to complete your order. Note: If you are isolated or are unable to pick up your stew, we are offering delivery to people who live in Finland.


Click Here To Order Sisu Stew for Your Household.

If you need help placing your order, please call us at 218-353-0300

Want to help?

We are currently looking for people to help us deliver Sisu Stew to community members who are unable to pick it up. If you are interested in helping with deliveries, please call 218-353-0300.

Funding for this project was made possible by Federal Nutrition Funds through the CARES Act, obtained through a partnership with Friends of Finland, North Shore Area Partners, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging and the United Protestant Church in Silver Bay.

The 2020 Finland Farmers Market Wraps Up… (or Does it??)

October 16, 2020

October 8th was the final market day for the regular market season. As everyone knows, 2020 has been a trying year for all, and made for an unusual market year filled with face masks, one-way customer flows and lots of hand-washing.

Despite the challenges faced by all, the Finland Farmers Market had a stellar year. We have been tracking customer weekly attendance since 2016, and 2020 came in with more than half of it’s weekly market attendance tracking 15-45% above the running average. That is, in a word, amazing! Only two market days in 2020 fell below the 5 year average.

On top of our committed and long-term vendors, we also added new vendors selling jams, chips & salsa, frozen pizzas & additional bread products! We are always looking for new vendors to add to our mix, especially those offering meats & cheeses.  So if any of our readers have a suggestion for new vendors for the 2021 Farmers Market Season, please reach out to us.

In 2021, if things return to “normal”, we look forward to offering cooking demonstrations, informational community tables, and hopefully even having onsite food trucks serving hot food. Stay tuned.

Finland Farmers Market LogoBut WAIT… the 2020 season may not yet be over! Earlier this season, a group of vendors got together to discuss & create an online sales platform for the Finland Farmers Market. Round River Farm, the Switchback Farm and Wolf Ridge Farm all participated and trialed out this new online platform this season with great success. As we go into the Winter Holiday Season, the Finland Farmers Market is looking at holding two online markets per month in both November and December. This would allow you have access to some amazing local products for food or possibly holiday gifts. Watch for a special newsletter coming out in late October for more information.

A sincere and heart-felt thank-you to all the vendors and customers who made the 2020 Farmers Market Season a great success.

Stefan Meyer
Finland Farmers Market Manager

Come Make a Crafty Mess with the Finland Youth Program!

September 4, 2020

Camp Finland 2020 Was Great Despite the Challenges

August 15, 2020

Despite the work it took to comply with all of the COVID-19 safety guidelines, Camp Finland did happen! It was in July instead of June, there were definitely fewer kids than usual, and staff wore themselves out somewhat with all the planning, but we did it! All in all, it was really fun!

It felt really good to have kids on the site and in the Center again. COVID forced us to think differently about activities with distancing and safety in mind (think: squirtgun painting, nerf gun tag, that kind of thing), and to have activities outside where the kids could spread out as much as possible. Teen Camp spent nearly all of their time outside. Sadly, we could not incorporate as much community involvement due to COVID concerns. We really missed our kite-flying volunteers and craft mentors! Fortunately, staff were very flexible and creative and worked hard to ensure that it was a quality experience for everyone.

What an outstanding group of staffpeople! Andrew Norcross, Jenna Pollard, Margaret Sager, and Robyn Char pulled off a beautiful week of Teen Camp with amazing activities and mentorship for the teens. Kenny Albrecht, Julia Littlewolf, Oliver Smith, Kyler Knaffla and Amber Lattin (4 of them are alumni of our Youth Program!) were our amazing Kids Camp staff, coming up with so many creative ways for kids to have fun together and remain distanced.

Our kitchen staff was also incredible: Nancy Anselment-Olson, Sandy Gunnink, and Heather Brown worked hard all week (and beforehand) to work out tasty and healthy meals and snacks and individually package everything for COVID-19 compliance and safety.

Big thank yous to all the folks who donated to support Camp: specifically Michele Stocke, Andrea Leabch, Wade Stromgren and Sue Rian, but there are many others who have donated over the course of the year in support of Camp and Youth Programming in general. Thank you all!

More big thank yous to all the folks who helped out with setting up and tearing down the giant tent: Ron Van Bergen, Dustin and Kelsie Williams, Gary Olson, Jeffrey Mitchell Jr, Blake Hawbaker, Jac Knife, Bob Nelson, Jared Conboy, Katee Ristuccia, Kenny Albrecht, Oliver Smith, and Kyler Knaffla. We could not have done it this year without that giant tent!

Teen Camp Slideshow

Kids Camp Slideshow

Everyone stay safe and healthy and we hope to see you at Camp Finland next year!

COVID Decisions for Clair Nelson Center – Phase 3

June 5, 2020

Dear Folks,

It’s been a long weird couple of months since this COVID-19 thing started and we had to make the hard decision to suspend community activities at the Clair Nelson Center. Now things are opening up again, kind of, and we are in the position of having to figure out what is allowed and what is not and also, what is safe and what is not. A complicating factor is that we are usually a “multi-use facility.” Many different activities can happen here at the same time. Normally that is a strength. We have often bragged about how much use this place was getting some days. Tuesdays used to be amazing, with the Craft Ladies in the meeting room, Toddler Playtime in the gym or outside, people coming and going all day, and meetings and basketball in the evenings. We really miss all of that. We’re confident that those times will be back, but right now, that kind of overlapping use is a danger to members of our community. 

We fall under multiple categories in the State of MN’s phased plan for reopening. As of June 10th, we are in Phase 3 of stay safe MNStay Safe MN. All large public gatherings are not allowed. Farmers Markets are considered essential services, so the Finland Farmers Market opened on June 11th with protocols in place for hygiene and distancing. Youth Programming will resume in July with almost entirely outdoor activities and a few distanced art and craft activities. Staff are working on the hygiene and distancing protocols now, as well as the timeframe and logistics. More information on youth programming will be announced soon. 

We have decided not to allow other activities indoors at the Center at this time. Under the current guidelines, distanced gatherings of fewer than 10 people are allowed, however, we do not have the staff to enforce the number limits or to keep everything cleaned and sanitized in between groups. Similarly, distanced gym activities would be allowed under the guidelines, but again, we don’t have the staff to enforce the numbers or to clean and sanitize between groups. 

We are happy to train people on the use of Zoom for online meetings. It’s free and easy to use. We can help you set up your own account, or use the Friends of Finland account (with some training and/or help from staff). 

As before, public internet is still available. The entryway library and outdoor bathroom are still open. 

Our outdoor facilities are available for groups of 25 or less practicing distancing, and folks following the MDH’s guidelines for Drive-in gatherings or the DNR’s Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. The RV Dump is open for the season. Use of all of our facilities is at your own risk! We clean and sanitize as much as possible, but we have a limited staff dealing with a large outdoor area and a lot of surfaces. 

We will revisit this decision whenever Phase 4 is announced or new public health guidelines concerning COVID-19 are put forth by the MDH. 

Thanks for your patience! We love our community! Let’s stay safe!