Thursday, 17 October 2013

From Farm to Table in Holland

When I was about 8 years old, I remember visiting my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Allan’s dairy farm.  The farm was so different than what I was used to.  I remember seeing a calf all mucky after having just been born, the little dog Tracey (not a typical farm dog ), and the smell of Uncle Allan and his clothing when he came in from doing the chores.  He had to leave his smelly clothing outside on the porch so he did not stink up the kitchen.  My Uncle Jim drove the dairy truck and travelled around from farm to farm picking up the fresh milk.  Back then, you could see the dairy room and walk along behind the cattle as they were being milked, far different than life today on a dairy farm. I remember the big silver machines they attached to the udders and the big tank of milk.  The dairy room was immaculately clean, but the smell was that of warm milk, not sour, but different.  Breakfast was a treat as there was always farm fresh milk for cereal and warm baked goods.  I remember the cream sitting on top of the milk in the pitcher.  Aunt Joyce would skim it off to put on strawberries or to be used in her baking later on.  If I was not too busy outside playing with Louise and Ann, I might get to help with the baking, or at least lick the beaters.

The farmer's fields in Holland - no fences here.

We came across many piles like this on our way from France to Holland - we are still not quite sure what this veggie
is.  It was white inside similiar to a parsnip but more the shape of a turnip.  

This morning we awoke to the sounds of dishes in the breakfast room.  We stayed at a beautiful little bed and breakfast in Holland, just outside of Amsterdam, last night.  The patio doors from our bedroom open up to farmers fields, where sheep, cattle and horses are grazing.  There are no fences separating the animals here, just water motes and ditches.  Henk, our host, had laid out a breakfast feast.  Amongst the spread were farm fresh eggs, cheese and milk.  There were fresh pears from the fruit trees and freshly squeezed orange juice as well.   Henk showed us the farm where the milk had come from out the window.  It was creamy and delicious, just like I remember the milk at Aunt Joyce and Uncle Allan’s.  I suppose that was the first time I had enjoyed milk straight from the cow since then.  It is amazing how scents and tastes can take you right back to your childhood.  Ally and Meg had never tasted farm fresh milk before and they thought that was pretty neat.

Our breakfast feast - Henk is fetching the milk next door!
Yesterday we visited a cheese farm and learned about the process of making cheese and tasted many different varieties.  Holland is famous for its cheese and wooden clogs, of course.  It was amazing the different flavours of the cheese depending on the milk that had been used in the process.  We tried sheep, goat and cow’s milk cheese.  Mark was raised on a small farm and lived on goat’s milk, butter and cheese growing up.  He too had not enjoyed the farm fresh tastes in quite some time.  We left with a round of aged goat’s cheese and herbed cheese, which were both so delicious.  There is something about buying your food straight from the farm, everything tastes better and is just that much ‘more’ special.  
Our tour guide at Jacob's Cheese Farm
Look at that cheese in the window.
Look at all of those clogs.
When we arrived home, we switched on the television, something we have not done much of on this trip.  There was a program on about breatharianism.  Breatharians believe they can sustain life without eating.  They believe energy can be found from other sources such as sunlight, wind and vibrations.  I’m not quite sold on this latest trend, and I’m not sure I could even try it if I was - that would mean giving up food!  Sure, I could easily give up the processed products and much of what our diet consists of today, but the farm fresh dairy, fruits and vegetables - I would surely miss.  I love our organic veggie share and have certainly enjoyed the tastes on our tour so far.  What’s not to love about fresh baguette, tea biscuits and chocolate? There is nothing like eating straight from the farm.  Thank you Henk, for introducing our girls to this lifestyle and reminding Mark and I of our younger days on the farm!

The processed food that is easy to give up... a hot fast-food vending machine...crazy!

The processed food that we 'should' have given up but didn't - these fries are rated the best fries
in all of Holland, so of course we had to try them. 
Meg enjoying the animals.


  1. It's always good to go back to our 'roots' from time to time!! I am having the opportunity to do this at the Lake House because I am closer to my siblings than I have been in years and years. It is all good!! And I am really enjoying your trip!

    1. Oh Auntie Sue, we have been hearing about your 'back to your roots' shenanigans! Glad you are having fun. xo


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