Fika Time!

Low, gray clouds blanket the morning sky—an abrupt change after the days of brilliant sun in the wake of 18 fresh inches of snow we received last week. I stretch and yawn, thinking about the day ahead and all the many projects that need my attention. It’s time to get up and engage with the day, even though the overcast skies make hibernation sound appealing.

Chores and dishes and breakfast and phone calls, planning the shares for members in this week’s round of pickups and deliveries. Packages head out the door, sending delightful orders on their way. In the afternoon, I’ll be hosting a Zoom class, guiding students through the next step in their fiber arts adventure.

Life has grown into a different rhythm at Farmstead Creamery than it used to be several years ago, but it’s also a good thing. As the public-facing part of our farm’s presence has matured, so have our interests and need to focus. Taking a breather from the short-order-cook pace freed up time, energy, and enthusiasm to pursue other passions—giving us new ways forward with how our diversified creations and offerings manifest and connect with wonderful folks like you.

Even though the pacing has changed, every day is still very full. After breakfast, we each attend to the day’s tasks—caring for the animals, filling orders, running deliveries, creating inventory. This could end up feeling scattered and lonely, but we have maintained a mid-day tradition that helps us take a pause amidst the action, regroup, and reground. Instead of lunch, we take a mid-afternoon break for fika (said fee-kah).

What’s fika? It’s a Swedish tradition of coffee (tea or hot cocoa works great too) and “a little something” between meals. Some Swedish families have fika twice a day! It’s a time to pause amidst the day’s business, take some time to tend our social nature, breathe deeply, and savor a treat. Winter hygge (hoo-ga) traditions would be woefully incomplete without fika!

Muffins are a fika favorite on the farm, like blueberry muffins Kara makes, studded with brilliant berries frozen from Bayfield’s summer harvest. The crisp, slightly sugary tops are a perfect combo with my steaming cup of chai as I watch the few random flakes of snow make their dance outside.

Studies in Sweden have found that companies that take a fika break during the workday have happier and more productive employees. It makes sense. When all you do is rush and dash and hurry, at some point your mind checks out. Taking a breather and tending to our social natures helps us center and build in some balance for the day.

Fika need not be fancy, like English High Tea. It should be cozy and spark joy, like so many other hygge activities. This time of year, think of fika as a warm-up, with a hot drink of your choice and a small treat—a muffin, cookies, a piece of cake, or even cheese and crackers if you prefer savory. In the summertime, fika could be a needed time to chill down from enjoying the sun and the lake—a cup of gelato and an iced tea, for instance.

As March arrives and we dream about what we’d like to offer during our upcoming summer season, the theme of being a carry-out fika stop is coming to the top as being a delightful way to connect and serve our community and visitors. A cup of gelato, a bakery treat, a hot or chilly drink—a perfect mid-day pick-me-up before heading back to the lake or the trails. More details to come!

In the meantime, while it is still chilly, here’s a small recipe for enjoying fika today.

Simple but Splendid Hot Cocoa for One

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk (Organic whole milk will have the best flavor)
1-2 Tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Mini marshmallows

Place first four ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk. Keep whisking as it begins to heat. Careful not to scald the milk, heat until steaming. Pour into your favorite mug and top with mini marshmallows. Increase the recipe as needed for the number (or size) of mugs you wish to fill!

Late winter can grow excessively weary, and on its heels on the farm is mud season. Renewal becomes illusive as we trudge through the day, feeling perpetually exhausted no matter how much sleep we’ve garnered. Fika can help us to remember the tools for renewal with a small daily ritual. We can use it to check in with ourselves and each other, taking a moment to feed the soul as well as the body.

I think it might be fika time! See you down on the farm sometime.