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Rautio Berry Farm lies on Walstrom Road, where John Rautio hails directly from a first-generation Finnish family and maintains the original farmhouse, resting on fields of green that glow red with berries each summer. Rautio even uses a vintage planter machine: It takes two riders in the front, and someone walking behind to check for quality (usually his daughter, says Rautio). The end result is a harvest of plump, juicy strawberries that are bursting with flavor—a true delight for all the senses.
Rautio was mentored by fellow farmer and good friend, Ben Niemela.
“He has been a great mentor for me,” says Rautio. “Strawberry growers up here are one big family. If they need something, I’ll give it to them and if I need something, they give it to me. There’s no competition because there’s never enough strawberries!”
The Keweenaw’s strawberry season is not merely about enjoying the fruit, but about community, and the opportunity for individuals and families to engage in the harvest, make lifelong memories of enjoying strawberries with their loved ones, and support local farmers while doing so. The bloom of strawberry season serves as a reminder that amidst our differences, the love for these luscious berries unites us all.
Photos & Article by Lily Venable