The history of our goat farm
It all started in an old cowshed and a kitchen in 1994 with about eighteen goats. Cheese maker Kathelijne grew up among the cows and was always convinced to do something with her hands. Farmer Bart did not get raised in a farmer's environment, but from an early age he showed a lot of interest in it.Initially, we sold our cheeses on local markets. Some time later we were able to buy a small farm.
In the meantime, it is already 1996 and the doubt strikes. However, our motivation remained flawless: we make a small but romantic market stall and continue to go to different markets. We also start with a little farm shop, which must have been a funny sight: we did not even have a refrigerated counter and always had to open the fridge when a customer came.
Together, we always had an enormous urge to take care of our environment. We strongly believe that everything on our planet is connected to each other. This made the transition to an organic business a logical consequence. In 2002 it was official, but the preparations were already running for two years. Such a changeover obviously takes time. The soil life has to recover and the goats must be able to graze outside. For us, being organic goes much further than the cheese itself. We try to support the fragile balance of the ecosystem instead of disturbing it. Of course, that does not include pesticides or artificial fertilizer ... But we wanted to go a step further and chose from the very beginning a conscious nature management.
Gradually we continue to grow, but we persist to bring a pure and artisan product to the market. This based on the conviction that this benefits our customers and their health. We work exclusively with raw & organic goat milk. Meanwhile about six hundred goats are hopping in the pasture. The old dairy and the store had their charms, but their best time was over. That is why in 2017 they were completely renewed.
"For us, being organic goes much further than the cheese itself. We try to support the fragile balance of the ecosystem instead of disturbing it"
Our cheeses are made exclusively with our own organic raw milk. To this we add a starter, which are living lactic bacteria. These acidify the milk and thus form the basis for cheese.
Rennet is also added. For this we consciously opt for the vegetarian version!
By using raw milk , all good nutrients are preserved. This means: pure nature, favourable to the intestinal flora and with more proteins, vitamins and good bacteria.
By now, it should be clear that we keep our products as pure as possible. Additives are not necessary with such a fresh milk. The goats receive high quality meals and graze as much as possible outside, which only benefits the taste. Judge for yourself about the softness of our cheeses. Moreover, we are constantly working on how we can improve! This is how we create honest and delicious cheeses.
The production process is as traditional as possible. The cheeses are all scooped, turned, seasoned, packed ... by hand. This makes every cheese unique.
picture: Terroir - Tony Leduc
Our goats graze outside as much as possible. From the first sunny days until sometimes mid-October, you will find them on our surrounding meadows. Funny to see how they are drumming at the gate to go outside after a long winter.
Clover is our asset: our meadows are full of it! This unique plant extracts nitrogen from the air and creates rich meadows. It is really remarkable how the flavours of our products change once the goats go outside. You can simply taste this in the milk and in the cheese, which is then very rich in omega 3 and omega 6.
We sometimes compare this with being a chef, who is always looking for the perfect spices for his dish. For example, we also sow dandelions, yarrow and wild chicory. We didn't have much results the first few years, but after some time we suddenly got more molehills & earthworms. Around the fields we now see doves, barn owls and kestrels. Nature is fine and it is our job to keep those delicate streams from pastures through goats to our cheeses as pure as possible.
The journey continues...
As mentioned earlier, we want to go further than purely organic products. We would like to give you some examples of where we try to contribute ...
In 2009 we restored a pool of perhaps a hundred years old. It took a while, but now it is swarming with tadpoles, dragonflies and ducks. Rich plant life, such as willow rose and meadowsweet, also rises again. Recently we also spotted a squirrel!
We planted pollard willows around the meadows: currently we count over a hundred (!) trees. They have numerous advantages for our pastures, but also form an ideal nesting place for the little owl for example.
Regional hedges such as field maple, hawthorn and hornbeam ensure the protection of our plots and our animals. After all, we want to keep the goats outside as long as possible. We deliberately opt for old varieties and have currently planted more than 900 meters.
In addition, we also try to reduce the input-output balance of our company to zero. Our planet and what we experience on it is so unique, we have to take care of that! Our washing water is completely collected and serves as irrigation in the summer. We also have a number of solar collectors, which provide us with hot water.