It all started back in 2019 when Matthew Almusa got a Facebook message from Brent Shepherd, a cousin who was searching the family’s Finnish genealogy.

Shepherd had found a distant relative, Mia Halonen, who happened to be well-connected in Finland’s television industry. Halonen had asked if Shepherd knew a man who fit three characteristics — being of Finnish heritage, single and a farmer — for a show. 

Almusa fit that profile, so he reached out for more details. 

“I was really curious about what was going on,” Almusa said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Morning Edition

“I thought maybe it was a documentary, but then the single thing kind of kind of threw me off and I didn’t know what to think about that.”

LISTEN: Matthew Almusa appeared on The Morning Edition this week

9:57Sask. farmer stars in reality dating show in Finland

A request from a cousin’s cousin led one Saskatchewan man to become the co-star of a Finnish dating show. We find out what it was like to be the most eligible bachelor of his ancestral home. 9:57

Not a scam

Almusa eventually found out that it was a dating show called Maajussille morsian maailmalla, which translates to “Farmer Wants a Wife in the World,” but he was still skeptical about whether it was real or not. A few days later, he had a phone call with someone in Finland who explained the process to him and it took off from there. 

An introductory episode was filmed in Saskatchewan and aired in Finland. It profiled Almusa and invited women to write about themselves for the opportunity to meet him. 

Almusa flew to Finland for the first time in his life. With a lot of “thought and prayer,” he whittled the list down to four women.  and the speed-dating portion of the show began. He said he only got about 15 minutes with each woman and then had to decide on three of them to travel back to Saskatchewan with him. 

They all arrived at the Almusa family farm in Margo, Sask., at the same time and the women stayed for a week. While in Saskatchewan they used his family’s sauna, went tobogganing, checked out the local club and more.  

“It’s definitely different to have two cameras and knowing that the whole world could potentially be viewing this. You kind of wonder what to say, and it’s kind of like ‘OK, now start dating, cameras are rolling,'” he said. 

Almusa sits on the porch of the sauna at his family’s farm in Margo, Sask. (Submitted by Matthew Almusa)

‘Still an eligible bachelor’

In the end he had to pick just one woman, but things didn’t work out between them. 

“Well we corresponded for a little bit on Facebook, but that quickly kind of fizzled out. And so here I am … still an eligible bachelor.” 

Although Almusa didn’t find true love, he said he’s grateful for the friendships and connections he made along the way. 

“I think it brought me out of my shell. You’re gonna regret things that you don’t do, so if I said no, I don’t want to do this, I’d always be wondering what it was like.” 

The final episode of the show aired May 6.