Old Market Hall merchant Anna Härö
Anna Härö is a market hall merchant working in the Old Market Hall. Old Market Hall is the oldest market hall in Helsinki, dating back to year 1889. It houses 25 shops, Anna’s shop Annan Villiliha (Anna’s wild game) among them. Anna loves to work in her shop during summer season when the hall is full of foreign visitors. When not working, she spends time at her summer cottage in the archipelago.
Hello Anna! You are a merchant in the Old Market Hall. How did you become one?
I began working at Old Market Hall in 2006 at the Andström fishmonger’s. Already back then I loved the atmosphere and unique spirit of the market hall. After the major renovation in 2014, I decided to apply for a space of my own and set up a butcher shop. The shop opened in June 2014.
Tell us a little bit more about the Old Market Hall.
The Old Market Hall is the oldest market hall in Helsinki. It was completed in 1889. It houses 25 shops, cafes and restaurants that sell Finnish specialties as well as international delicacies. The Old Market Hall gives you a good overview of typical Finnish foods. In addition, it has a unique and truly wonderful atmosphere that changes with the seasons.
Your shop is called Annan Villiliha (‘Anna’s wild game’). What kind of produce do you offer? How is Finland featured in your selection?
Our shop specialises in game, Finnish meat and poultry. We also offer a wide selection of cold cuts and other delicacies. Our best-sellers are Finnish specialties such as reindeer, elk, rabbit and duck. The selection changes with the seasons. Autumn is definitely the best time of the year for us as it marks the beginning of hunting season. Finnish produce and ethical food production are the founding principles of our shop.
What is the best thing about summer in Helsinki?
Summer in Helsinki is lovely! In the summer, the city comes to life and people head out and about. The highlights of summer are spending time in nature and on the terraces and, of course, enjoying good food and drink. Finns definitely know how to appreciate the sunshine after a long winter and make the most out of every sunny day!
How is summer reflected in the Old Market Hall?
In the summertime, the market hall is very busy. We get a lot of Finnish and foreign tourists. The best thing about my job is introducing foreign visitors to Finnish food culture! The market hall is simply full of people and life all summer.
Which summer specialties sold in the market hall would you recommend to a tourist?
Everyone should definitely taste cold-smoked reindeer or elk salami. These specialties can’t be found anywhere else in the city. I also recommend traditional Finnish hand-made Karelian pies and rye bread as well as smoked salmon and raw pickled whitefish, all available here.
Of course summer is also the best season for berries, so you must try fresh Finnish strawberries. If you have the opportunity to prepare your own meals while here in Finland, you should cook up some newly-picked Siikli potatoes. Due to the northern climate, Finnish strawberries and potatoes are exceptionally tasty.
Do you have any vacation time?
I take small breaks during the summer and try to spend as much time as possible at our summer cottage in the Tammisaari archipelago. In the summer, I spend most of my time at the Hall because I love working in my shop when it’s busy and there are a lot of customers.