Perttula Farm


Historically, Laukaa has been one of the biggest rural parishes of Central Finland. Even though most of the farms in Laukaa were smallholdings during the last century, the specialty of the parish were numerous large farms, where the way of life was relatively close to the manor house culture of Southern Finland – or at least that is what its owners aspired for.

In terms of its acreage, the Perttula Farm in the village of Leppävesi was one of the bigger farms of the region, but it never belonged to the group of Laukaa large farms that pursued manor house culture. Instead, Perttula is a rustic house – a farm that cherishes rustic values, culture and way of life.

Perttula can be characterized as a farm that has always embraced the present while simultaneously respecting rustic traditions and its own ways. One of them is the cross-generational tradition of gender equality. The ladies of the house have always had a say in everything related to the farm.


Perttula grew roughly to its current size at the end of the 19th century when Severus and Serahfiina Kuukkanen,, who held the farm until 1911, bought the neighbouring farm, Rantala. Thus, Perttula became a more-than-200-hectare farm, with approximately 65 hectares worth of arable area. The fields of the farm were fertile clayey soil that dipped to the Lake Leppävesi. Whereas the farms in northern Central Finland have been plagued by frost, the Perttula fields have been spared from it for at least the past century.

What also set Perttula apart from the large farms of the parish, was that it only had one croft, Majanen in Suppaanniemi, by the Lake Leppävesi. On contrast, the large farms of Laukaa could employ more than a dozen crofters at the beginning of last century.

The history of Perttula goes way back to the past, at least up to the latter half of the 18th century. The house has been well-known and vital for the area even before Severus’ command, for there was an inn alongside with it. Travelers were housed in a separate roomy cottage near the main building. Since Severus served as a juror, the cottage was used as a courtroom back when he was the farm owner.

As the main building and the separate cottage were at right angles, Severus decided to connect them. A couple of rooms were built to the notch between the buildings. That is how the current main building of Perttula got its somewhat unusual shape.

At the beginning of last century, Perttula was farmed in a traditional way. Dairy farming and related hay farming were vital to the farm. It is also worth mentioning that Severus was a horseman, and the farm was already known for its good horses back in his days.

Due to the innkeeping and later the courtroom, Perttula had better connections in the region and the rest of Finland, too, than an average rustic farm. The life in the house was lively and Perttula was the heart of the village.


A new chapter in the history of Perttula started in the autumn of 1911 when the daughter of Severus and Serahfiina Kuukkanen, Kaisa, and her spouse Vihtori Vesterinen took up the responsibility of the farm. Vihtori Vesterinen (1885 – 1958) was a son of a rancher from Kannonkoski. His legacy of the ranch, Kivikko, included more than 1000 hectares of forest. This ample forest property strengthened Perttula substantially in terms of economy.

Ran by Vihtori and Kaisa Vesterinen, the already intense connection of Perttula to the surrounding society was expanded and deepened into societal responsibility. This development began with the events between 1916 – 1919 that were related to Finland becoming independent. Among other things, this time period included Vihtori Vesterinen being a key contributor in the founding of the newspaper Saarijörven Paavo and getting elected as a Member of the Parliament in the parliamentary election of the year 1919.

Having been appointed as a minister, Vihtori Vesterinen’s governmental career continued until 1951. He was a minister in three governments already in the 1920s, and overall, he served as a minister in eight different governments. His influence reached its peak as the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauno Pekkala’s government during the so-called “years of danger”, 1946 – 1948. He has also gone down in history as one of the signers of the Paris Peace Treaty on 10 February 1947.

Over the 1920s, Perttula was developed as an all-round farm. As the farm owner spent his weeks doing governmental work in Helsinki, a lion’s share of the everyday responsibilities at the farm was naturally on his lady, Kaisa Vesterinen.

The Perttula traditions of horsebreeding and harness racing were continued in the years the farm was ran by Vihtori and Kaisa Vesterinen. For example, at the beginning of the 1930s, there were seven horses at the farm. Since the number of dairy cattle was large in Perttula, hay and oats were the most important crops. In total, hay and pasture made up for roughly half of the arable area. There were a dozen hectares of oats and approximately five of rye, whereas barley and wheat took up a couple of hectares. Linen was also still farmed back in the 1930s, but only with a few square metres.

Perttula has been used for both farming and domestic science training. Some of the buildings were remodeled in the 1920, and at the beginning of the decade, a new cowhouse for up to 30 cows and a stable for seven horses maximum were built. The main building was also renovated in 1925.


The next change at the Perttula farm took place at the mid-1940s as a part of a big project of the Finnish countryside: the re-location of the Karelian evacuees to new places of residence, as well as a larger societal settlement project. In those days, a ten-hectare farm was parceled out from Perttula, which left the size of the arable area to approximately 55 hectares.

After the war, the responsibility of the Perttula farm was practically passed on to the next generation, Paavo and Airi Vesterinen. The actual change of generation was carried out gradually, so that during the years 1947 – 1951 Vihtori and Paavo Vesterinen co-owned the farm, after which it was completely moved to the ownership of Paavo and Airi Vesterinen. Alongside with the change of generation, the forest property of Kannonkoski was split between Paavo Vesterinen, his brother and three sisters as statutory portions.

Perttula was developed determinedly over the decades of Paavo and Airi Vesterinen’s ownership. Paavo Vesterinen was an agrologist by education. In the years of his management, Perttula continued to be used for farming-, cattle breeding- and domestic science training. Its mechanization started earlier than average, which meant that there was a tractor starting from the year 1948, and one of the first combine harvesters of Finland came to the farm in 1952. What is more, the underdraining of the fields was started in the 1950s.

Back when Paavo Vesterinen (1918 – 1993), was the owner of the farm, the Perttula tradition of breeding famous trotting-horses was taken to the next level. Erikka, owned by Vihtori and Paavo Vesterinen, was one of the cutting-edge trotting horses produced at the farm. Other successful trotters during the ownership of Paavo Vesterinen were Erolo and Toimitus. Paavo Vesterinen also continued the tradition of the owners of Perttula in politics, achieving the Finnish title of kunnallisneuvos, which is granted to successful municipality officials. His career among the municipality politics of Laukaa, as well as numerous positions of trust, began from the beginning of the 1950s. For his wife, Kaisa Vesterinen, this meant loads of work and a great responsibility of the everyday matters of Perttula.

Paavo Vesterinen was a Member of the Parliament for three terms, during the years 1957 – 1987. In his last term, he was the chair of the Legal and Economical Affairs Committee, among other things. In the year 1977, Perttula was shifted to the ownership of the next generation, Antero and Leena Vesterinen, which made it possible for Paavo Vesterinen to concentrate on his work at the Parliament.


During the the years of Antero Vesterinen’s ownership, Perttula was developed as a crop farm, with horse breeding and trotting racing being central for its economy. A top trotter and a good stud horse, Vokker, first co-owned by Paavo and Anteri Vesterinen, goes down as one of the best stallions in the history of Finnish equestrian sports. Puheli of the Perttula stable was another cutting-edge trotter. In Antero Vesterinen’s years as the owner, the Perttula traditions of societal responsibility have been carried on, among other things, in many horse breeding- and trotting racing -related positions of trust. Kommentti [LP7]: Nämä suomalaiset arvonimet, kuten ”kunnallisneuvos” ja ”maanviljelyneuvos” eivät oikein käänny englanniksi, joten ne pitää selittää.

The maanviljelysneuvos (a title granted by the Finnish President to renowned influencers in the field of farming), Antero Vesterinen, has done a significant job as the chair of the board of the Keskisuomalainen Oyj. When he was the chair, Keskisuomalainen grew as one of the biggest newspapers of the country. His numerous tasks and liabilities away from the farm and home positively correlated with the burden his vigorous wife, Leena Vesterinen, had to bear of Perttula.

As the chair of the Keskisuomalainen Oyj, Antero Vesterinen carried on one of the most significant traditions of Perttula. To his grandfather, Vihtori Vesterinen, responsibility over the Keski-Suomi province meant, above all, responsibility over the local newspaper. Vihtori Vesterinen was the chair of the newspaper Saarijärven Paavo over the years 1917 – 1932, after which he served as the chair and the key bearer of responsibility until his death in 1958. Paavo Vesterinen was also the chair of Keskisuomalainen for a long time. In the spring 2017, Antero and Leena Vesterinen’s daughter, Riitta Vesterinen-Virtanen, began her service at the board of Keskisuomalainen Oyj, representing the fourth generation of her family there.

Taking part in bearing the responsibility of the provincial newspaper, Keskisuomalainen Oyj, is a unique tradition related to the Perttula farm. It has been a part of the life in Perttula for the past 100 years. In the newspaper, Kaisa Vesterinen-Virtanen is also continuing the tradition started by the strong-willed lady of Perttula, Kaisa Vesterinen, in the 1920s. The relief of Kaisa Vesterinen in the premises of Keskisuomalainen in Aholaita, Jyväskylä, is a reminder of that. Today, Perttula is a farm concern co-owned by three of the four Vesterinen siblings, Riina Prittinen, Raisa Vesterinen and Riitta Vesterinen-Virtanen. The house and the farm live in the course of time. The work and the activities change, but the rustic tradition, culture and lifestyle of Perttula are still held in high regard.

Text by Lasse Kangas.

Translation by Liisa Partanen