Home / News / Local News / Food & More–Reindeer In The UP Not Just For Tourism
Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Food & More–Reindeer In The UP Not Just For Tourism

An effort is underway from the Finnish American Heritage Center to begin the farming of reindeer in the UP which could lead to commercial farming of the animal.  Over the weekend, a presentation was given at the annual Heikinpäivä celebration regarding the history of reindeer farming from a Finnish reindeer herder and governing agencies are willing to consider the idea.

“We thought new expressions of the Finnish identity, especially in the case of Copper Country Finns, that trying to introduce reindeer would be something to discuss,” said Finnish American Heritage Center Executive Director Jim Kurtti.

This would not be the first time that the animal has been introduced to the UP’s list of wildlife species.  “Much to our surprise we have discovered in the archives that it was attempted almost a hundred years ago in the 1920’s,” Kurtti said.  “It apparently was a failed attempt. I think what made it fail was they pretty much just brought the reindeer here and let them go wild and one by one, they surprisingly disappeared. I think there were predators, mostly on two legs, that took care of those reindeer.”

An initial discussion took place Monday afternoon with input from the Michigan DNR, who will review the information and logistics of reindeer cattle farms. Other agencies in attendance included the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance.

“In Finland, reindeer are not wild animals, they’re owned just like cattle. So you have reindeer herders that take care of the deer and in a sense of watching for their well being, their health, and proper diet, etc. When you have a herd of reindeer, it becomes a food product. The meat is used in a variety of ways and in the olden days nothing was wasted, not the horns, not the skin, not the organs,” Kurtti said.

Even the blood from the animal is harvested. It’s often cooked into a pancake and served for breakfast.  “Blood pancakes is actually one of the most popular treats in school. They have blood pancakes once a week and the kids go “yea!” when that comes,” Kurtti said.

More discussions and public input are expected to contribute to the decision making process.

Check Also

911 Advisory Committee Request Equipment Purchases for Police Cruisers, and the Jeffers SRO Officer

Other actions by the county commission included approving an MPSC Co-Location License Agreement and resolution …

[sam id="3" codes="true"]