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.
Marieke's Gouda with Foenegreek is made to a traditional recipe from the Netherlands. The evening prior to cheesemaking, Marieke boils the seeds for ten minutes to soften them and make them suitable for use. The seeds, which bear certain similarities to fennel seeds, are added to the curd just before it is pumped to the draining table.
After pressing and unmolding, the newly formed wheels are placed in a brine solution for 60 hours before being 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.
Marieke recommends eating the cheese when it is relatively young, since the foenegreek seeds tend to develop a certain bitterness with age. Therefore, the texture of Marieke's Gouda with Foenegreek is smooth, moist and springy, dotted with soft nibs of foenegreek
Flavors are deep, rich, and caramelly, with aromas of maple and nut.