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AnneliJohnsonI got this story from Anneli Johnson from Quincy, US. She is an avid advocate for local food in her area, having started the Farmers market. She is also lecturing and doing workshops on Finnish food traditions and recently she did a talk about ViILI at Finnfest, San Diego. That is how I got to hear about her work. I wish her talk had been recorded as I would have loved to have been in the audience!

“Helo Eva: Good to hear from you re: viili.
It was a great FinnFest at San Diego. My viili presentation and demo was for the full house, standing room only.
I gave out more than 100 viili starters, (pohja piimaa) I never realized how folks are interested in this Finnish pro biotic culture of viili.
If you go on Valio web pages, you learn a lot from there. Also the viili origin, is according to wikipedia from Sweden. I am sure folks in the countryside still have theier old culture left, as they guarded it carefully. It is quite prolific in nature, and I understand may even be prohibited in US for that reason alone.
But, if viili, our Finnish pro biotic is a contra ban, then there are now more than one hundred FinnFest participants making their own villi in many corners of US and braking the law.
One of my participants drank her culture straight away, so I had to remind the audience, it is to take home and start your own. One asked, “if I leave my milk on the kitchen counter, wouln’t it turn to viili”? She needed to be corrected, naturally. There were many stories folks shared from the olden days. How , for example, viili was served on the common table at work camps and for farm workers. it was made in a large shallow enamel dish, so much of the cream could settle on top, and give the milk more expose of air as the culture needs the air to do its job of transforming the sugars to a different pro biotic form.
I wish you luck and wish I was there. I am from Mynamaki, which is not far from Salo.
Terveisin, Helvi Anneli Johnson”

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