The farm which has been established by the Van den Haspel family decades ago, has been broken down for the largest
part 10 years ago after which it has been rebuild following modern regulation. This means that our farm is
a combination of an old and relative new area which are combined to one building.
The old area was used for production of cheese, the new area as stable. After we started using the newly built
cheese production area, we use the old area as temporary stable for our young livestock. We plan to modernise
this area in future, together with our milking area.
The stable consists of a free stall barn on the inside and a straw yard barn on the outside. In both stables
the animals can walk around freely and drink and eat when convenient.
The free stall barn consists of cubicles which are divided by metal bars and has an automatic manure
removal system. The latter is not part of the straw yard barn which immediately explains the name of this stable
type. In a straw yard barn the manure is not directly being removed but covered with a new layer of straw,
causing the animals to stand higher and higher. This results in very fertile manure which is spread
over our meadows several times a year. By using our own meadow we also guarantee the organic nature of our meadows.
Besides the available stables, a large area of our ground is used for the storage of hay, straw and corn
Retrieval of hay and straw is done during the summer months, both from our own meadows and from elsewhere.
This is mainly done with our own machinery but occasionally we are also supported by colleague farmers
and contractors. Corn is delivered to us. Of course all products are grown organically since otherwise we cannot
classify our company as being organic and all corresponding certificates will be obsolete.
More information about organic farming can be found in the section "Organic".
The main activities on our livestock farm; our cheese production is mentioned below.
Getting the cows from our meadows for the milking process.
Normally the ladies return to the farm automatically at regular intervals. However in case of very nice weather
or juicy grass they sometimes prefer to enjoy the field a bit longer.
The milking process is not done via an automatic milking robot but in the traditional, manual manner where we can
handle 6 cows at the same time.
Of course the storage, cooling and processing is done via modern technologies in order to guarantee our quality of milk and cheese.
During the night our cows can walk around freely in the free stall barn and select their own resting place.
The proof that our animals have a good time with us is given by the fact that we have cows of 12 years old; far
above the average age.
Production of milk is important to keep the company profitable; however good living conditions for our
animals is valued higher. Besides that, a happy cow automatically gives more and better tasting milk which
is again beneficial to the cheese.
We also have a straw yard barn which is mainly used for cows and calfs which temporarily require extra care.
This is for example just before or after the birth of a calf.
In the early morning, after the milking took place, the cows can walk straight to the meadows.
They are very curious animals, so on their way everything is inspected thoroughly.
Besides the main activities around our cattle, there are many more other activities which are essential for operating a farm.
For the majority part of the year our cows can graze in the meadows. For winter days hay is the main food
component, collected from our own or other organic meadows.
The more we can mow grass during summer, the more hay there is available in winter.
With organic farming the use of artificial growth substances and pesticides are forbidden. For that reason
the grass yield is lower than with regular farming..
Where in history the hay bales were still small enough for manual labour (see pictures in the section
"History"), nowadays the bales weight several hundreds of kilograms in order to get more efficient processes.
After compressing the dried grass, the hay bales are surrounded with a plastic cover.
The advantage of the plastic packaging is the fact that transport is easier and storage can be done in open air instead of using hay sheds.
Storage is done on our own ground. The picture on the right shows a part of the hay stock; during the winter the stock reduces again to zero.
Besides using hay as food element, straw is very important as a foundation for the cows to walk and rest in the stables.
As soon as the combine harvesters have harvested the grain, the remaining cornstalks are compressed into large bales.
This happens as fast as possible in order to make sure that moisture cannot get into the stalks. Damped stalks
can cause mold and heating in the bales which can again cause diseases and fire.
The manual lifting of straw bales is like with hay nowadays impossible. For that reason heavy machinery is required.
Due to the fact that straw must be collected as fast as possible, the days in summer are used for the fullest.
After having placed provisionaly protection at night against possible rain, the next morning is used for unloading an storage on our ground.
Ook opslag gebeurt op ons bedrijfsterrein.
Most straw comes from agricultural areas in our vicinity, for example "Hoekse Waard". Unfortunately only
a small amount of our straw requirements can be collected from our own "Alblasserwaard" and surroundings.
During wet summers we even have to import straw in some cases.
Everything that gets in organically comes out organically. The manure is therefore spread out over our
meadows during the allowed periods during the year, ensuring the best fertilisation for optimal grass growth.
Our cheese dairy
As read in the section "History", we are making cheese in organic way for decades already. The characteristic
taste, caused by the recipe that has been optimised since the nineties, resulted in many collected prizes during independent cheese contests and shows.
We are continuously thinking about new tastes en realise these in practice, even though the good old Gouda cheese
remains the basis in all cases. Quality and flexibility remain our strength.
Since 2011 we have exchanged our old building, where the stable was shared with the cheese production, with a
newly built one. This is next to our old location.
It took some efforts but we are now operational for quite a while and have proven to be able to guarantee
the same taste and quality as on our old location. Something that fills us with joy and pride as it
concerns a combination of old and new technologies with regard to the production processes. The basic processes
are equal; however we have ensured that some labour intensive tasks have been lightened.
We have for example introduced an installation to handle the curd. This means that we do not need to get the curd
for the 5 and 12 kilogram cheeses by hand from the tubs while bending over. Instead we can do this while
standing straight. Curd for the small 500 gram and 1 kilogram cheeses is still collected manually from the
tubs. (More information about the cheese vocabulary can be found in the section "Making cheese".)
Another physical advantage is our indoor cheese warehouse. In history we had to store our cheese at
different locations on our ground which caused many logistical movements. Nowadays we can do this next to
the production area. Besides the logistical improvement this also helps the quality level as besides the
temperature now also the air moisture level can be controlled in detail. This enhances the ripening process of the cheese.
Besides deliveries to business partners we also supply to individuals. Be welcome to pass by and get to know
us, or ask us for a reseller contact. (Information about our location and opening hours can be found in the section "Contact".)
The pictures below give you an impression of a part of our cheese production.
In the section "Making cheese" all steps in the process of making cheese are explained in detail; both in schematic way as well as the
different steps as done in our company.
Our building in cold times; January 2012.
The storage of milk in multiple refrigerated tanks.
The curd installation with on the right side a small tub (nowadays fully stainless steel) and on the left side
the installation for cleaning and pasteurisation.
One of the cheese presses with on the right side the curd installation.
A part of our brine area.
A part of our cheese storage; the blue hoses transfer the cooled resp. heated air and the damp for regulation the humidity level.