The forests, fields and river views of Haltila form a large cohesive recreational green area that is part of Helsinki’s Central Park (Keskuspuisto). Haltiala Farm itself is part of the wider Haltiala recreational area owned by the City of Helsinki.
The Torpparinmäki residential district was developed alongside Haltiala in the 1950s and 1980s. On the other side of the river is Vantaa and the Tammisto residential district, development of which began in the 1990s. Residents of both districts can enjoy the benefits of the Haltiala recreational area. The fields are still part of the manor house milieu, forming a culturally and historically valuable area that will be maintained for future generations.
Haltiala has 202 hectares of fields, and its forests form part of the northern section of Central Park (Keskuspuisto). Finnish cereal varieties, oats, rye, barley and wheat are grown on the fields. Most of the crops are sold to wholesalers, some are used to feed birdlife, and a small amount is ground and sold on the farm.
Most of the fields are maintained using conventional farming methods using artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides against weeds, plant diseases and insects. On some of the fields, the seeds are planted using direct drilling techniques without soil preparation. This helps maintain the vitality of the soil and prevents leaching.
Natural farming methods are used for a small area of around 30 hectares. Here the fields are fertilised using livestock manure and by growing nitrogen-binding plants such as clover and pea plants. Protecting the adjacent Vantaanjoki river is a challenge for Haltiala Farm. Emissions are being reduced in a variety of ways, such as using protection zones, appropriate manures and plant cover in wintertime. Direct seeding and organic farming also help protect the river.
The farm is managed by the City of Helsinki’s Public Works Department, and the farm workers are employed by the city’s service provider Stara. The farm features several original farm buildings, including a barn built in 1947 that is used for sheep and other farm animals. The formal geometric garden was restored in 2001 and 2002. A section of the foundation of the original manor house was used to create a picnic area.
The farmyard features a playground with wooden animals and a second picnic area with a summer kiosk. There is also a grill that can be used freely, but visitors must supply their own wood or charcoal. In wintertime, children can enjoy the fun ice hill and pole sled.
At Eastertime, the small lambs in the sheep barn are a popular attraction. When the lambs are inside, the sheep barn is open 6pm to 8pm on weekdays and 11am–6pm on weekends. Chickens and turkeys also live in the barn. Outside, visitors can admire Hereford, Angus and Highland cattle. Pigs also run around the farmyard in summertime.
Haltiala Farm is an attractive countryside attraction for residents of Helsinki and tourists, providing a fine example of an active farm and the opportunity to enjoy the animals. At the end of summer, visitors can also pick peas, sunflowers and other garden produce free of charge during the harvest.
The farm manager Jari Kuusinen and his staff also organise various events on the farm. The Christmas, Shrovetide and Easter events are particular popular.
The privately operated Wanha Pehtoori café-restaurant is housed in a building dating back to 1910. Wanha Pehtoori serves tasty home-cooked food and refreshments. Country-style events are also organised there in summertime.