The CONO cheese factory is located in the Beemsterpolder area in the province of North Holland, and is known as the ‘greenest’ cheese factory in the world. They combine highly innovative techniques with traditional craftsmanship. For example, the curd is stirred manually. In addition, CONO is a pioneer in the stimulation of outside grazing.
The village of Rouveen in the east of the Netherlands has had a cooperative dairy for over a hundred years. While the area is characterised by its traditional culture and customes, the cheese factory is known for its creativity and innovative power. This cooperative produces a versatile range of products.
Dairy cooperative De Graafstroom has had its factory in the southern Dutch town of Bleskensgraaf since 1908. It is a dairy factory ‘for and by farmers’, where cheeses are made with fairtrade milk. Bleskensgraaf is located in the Alblasserwaard, a region that is famous for its green polders. This dairy factory produces our Royal Blue cheese, among others.
Biokaas Kinderdijk, a small-scale cheese factory, is nestled among the world-famous mills of Kinderdijk in the province of South Holland. Its unique location attracts tourists from around the world. This cheese factory specialises specifically in the production of organic vegetarian cheeses.
Cheese making is in the genes of the Verweij family, who inhabit the Elisabeth Farm in IJsselstein. The raw milk cheeses they have been producing for decades effortlessly find their way to specialty stores. Whenever possible the cows graze outside from March to November, which ensures protein-rich milk. Verweij has already won several awards for his cheeses.
Fam. v/d Poel
Hugo and Marije Van der Poel are the third generation of cheesemakers on the Waterrijk farm. The farm is located on a 70-hectare island, in the middle of the Kagerplassen. Transport to and from the farm is done by boat. Hugo and Marije make raw-milk cheeses and make use of traditional wooden barrels. They are particularly known for their Boeren Goudse Oplegkaas (Aged Artisan Gouda).
Fam. v/d Geest
Jos and Annelies are fourth-generation cheesemakers at the Drie Ambachtshoeve. They produce unique jumbo cheeses weighing a whopping 65 kilos. Jos has been farming since he was 22 years old, and has made a name for himself in the cheese business over the years. His farm produces four jumbos every day. Jos’s motto is: “All silliness aside, we make polder cheese with pride!”
Fam. van Dieijen
Joost & Yvonne Van Dieijen both grew up with the art of cheesemaking. They are the fourth generation of cheesemakers living on the Arcadia farm in Bodegraven. Their family tradition is immediately obvious to the tastebuds! Arcadia farm is situated in the middle of approximately 85 hectares of land, where the juicy grass is on the daily menu for around 380 dairy cows.
The De Gelder cheese and dairy farm is located in the small Frisian town of Tynje. The farm is renowned for its raw-milk ‘Hollandse Emmentaler’ (Dutch Emmental cheese), a delicious ‘holey’ farmhouse cheese. The company consists of a dairy farm with around 220 dairy cows, and a dairy company where Anne and Jenny Vogel work hard every day to produce the very best cheeses.
Fam. van Eijk
The Van Eijk cheese farm is located in the so-called Green Heart area, on the river Vlist. Adrie and Henriëtte make raw-milk cheeses from the milk provided by their 60 dairy cows. They use authentic wooden barrels to produce their cheese. The cheeses weigh 20 kilos and have won various awards at the Cum Laude contests.
The Noordam dairy farm in Hellouw, in the Dutch Betuwe area, is a real family business. It is run by brothers Peter and Johan and their wives. In the 80s, the farm started out with about 60 cows; today 300 cows are milked twice a day. This farm produces, among others, Vivaldi cheese.
Fam. v/d Bas
The Van der Bas cattle & dairy farm is situated in Nieuwerbrug, a small town in the so-called Green Heart area. The entire family is involved in the cheesemaking process: grandmother Van der Bas, Cor, Adrie, Irene – and even the children are joining in as well. Their raw-milk cheeses are made with crumbled curds.
The Slob family ‘farms’ in the South Holland village of Giessenburg, in the Alblasserwaard region. Although the farm has been in the family for many years, a completely new agricultural business was built in 2011 due to a lack of opportunities for growth in the old location. It is a proper family business; the De Vlag dairy farm is manned by three brothers: Fokke, Anne and Cees. All the milk they produce is processed into cheese, with herbed cheese as their specialty.
The Pennings dairy farm is located in the polder landscape between Leiden and Haarlemmermeer. It was founded around 1930 and boasts approximately 55 dairy cows. From the very beginning, they started making cheese, which was also sold door to door. Farmer Corné makes his cheeses with raw milk.
Fam. Vendrig de Wit
André and Jacqueline took over their farm in Montfoort from Jacqueline’s parents. The farm’s original name was ‘Koornzicht’ (Wheat View), because they used to grow wheat in front of the house. The cheese factory is situated in the old back annex. It’s a proper family business: even Jacqueline’s father (81 years old) is still active:he wipes and coats the raw-milk cheeses.
Fam. de Bruin
The De Bruin cheese farm is run by Jaap and Lineke, who represent the third generation on this farm. The fifty-something couple have around 50 dairy cows, all of whose milk is made into cheese. Because the farm is small scale, the cows get plenty of attention. They graze outside for seven to eight months a year, of which six months day and night.
On the Horstbrande farm, situated in the rolling landscape between Achterberg and Rhenen, a herd of about 200 Frisian dairy sheep resides. Farmer Gerrit grew up in the farm business from early childhood, and one day decided to start his own farm with 130 lambs. Now, about 40 lambs are born each spring, and the milk is processed into sheep cheese.
Fam. van Schie
Jan and Roos van Schie make organic farm cheese on their farm De Eenzaamheid in the Zwanburgerpolder in Warmond. It is situated on an island in the Kagerplassen, so they can only be reached by boat or their own ferry. Their red-and-white cows graze in the flowery meadows, and the business takes a progressive approach to the protection of brooding pasture birds.
Boris and Ellen are the fourth generation of Leiden cheesemakers on De Morgenstond farm in Warmond, located at the Kagerplassen. With the milk of their approximately 75 red-and-white cows, they make traditional Boeren Leidse Sleutelkaas (Leiden Farmhouse ‘Key’ cheese). Fam. Heemskerk is also one of the makers of Leiden farmhouse cheese, which has been listed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste.
The Hooikaas cheese farm is located in the wetland polders of Ottoland in the Alblasserwaard town of Ottoland. Various types of cheese are made on the farm, including so-called ‘kilos’ and ‘pounds’. Farmer’s wife Paula dresses and packs them up to look like cheese dolls. The dolls are available in several varieties and make a lovely gift.
The Castelijn family lives in the beautiful wetlands of Rijpwetering, located at the Kagerplassen. The farm boasts around 100 milking cows. The cows graze outside and have the option to ‘chill’ on water beds. The milk is processed into 500-gram and 1000-gram cheeses, the perfect size for tourists or a gift.
In the middle of the polder, between Melissant and Herkingen, lies the family business of the Mulder cheese farm. Continuing a family tradition of more than 45 years, Sjaak, Tonny and Stefan Mulder prepare their artisan cheeses with the milk of their own cows. The Mulder cheese farm strives for sustainable business management, for instance by using solar panels.
Farmer Jirco Vlooswijk, in his early forties, runs a farm in Montfoort. He represents the fourth generation on the farm that has a very special cheese specialty: a Dutch cheese treated with red bacteria called Le Petit Doruvael. The meaning of the name is ‘Through Reparcelling from Elsewhere’.