Owned by Marieke and Rolf Penterman, Holland's Family Farm is located at Thorp in central Wisconsin. Both Pentermans have a background in small-scale dairy farming in the eastern part of the Netherlands. However, since availability of agricultural land is limited in the Netherlands, they moved to Wisconsin in 2002 to establish their dairy farm and cheesemaking operation.
In 2004, Marieke began working towards getting her Wisconsin cheesemaker's license and also traveled back to the Netherlands in order to learn the process of making "boerenkaas," the authentic farmstead Dutch Gouda cheese.
Milk for cheese production comes from their own herd of rBGH free Holstein cows, and is piped from the first milking of the day directly to the processing vat in the cheesemaking room.
The curd is formed and packed into 18lb. forms before being pressed. Cheeses are then placed in a brine solution for 60 hours, after which the wheels are transferred to the maturing room where they are aged on Dutch pine boards. Cheeses are turned (flipped) daily for the first two weeks to ensure even moisture distribution, and a permeable coating is painted on the cheese. Wheels continue to be turned frequently for the duration of their maturation.
The Pentermans produce 13 different varieties of Gouda. The Plain Gouda is sold at various ages, from as young as two months to up to three years.
Other varieties include Italian Herb, Onion/Garlic, Smoked, and the Pentermans' award winning Foenegreek. Seasonal cheeses include Black Pepper Mix, Cumin, Black Mustard, Garden Herb, Burning Nettle and Burning Nettle Melange, Mustard Melange and Yellow Mustard.
'Marieke' is the Penterman's original signature cheese. It is a plain wheel made to an authentic Dutch Gouda recipe.
The interior paste is a pale ivory color, becoming darker towards the rind. The texture is close and dense and the more aged cheeses contain small crystals (amino acids) that give the cheese a slightly crunchy texture.
Flavors are balanced and sweet with notes of hay, roasted nuts and butterscotch.