New Galma Dairy has been around for 22 years, but as of a few weeks ago, they are proud to have opened their own creamery and storefront on their property to offer their handcrafted cheeses. Having started their own farm here in Ontario in 2001, the Zeldenrijk family immigrated from the Netherlands with a dream in one hand and hard work and motivation in the other.
As both Wilma and her husband, Nicolaas’ families were cheese-makers for centuries, you can say that it is in their blood. Originating from the Gouda region in the Netherlands, the Zeldenrijk family knew that they wanted to honour their past with their future.
The realization that the area that they were from in the Netherlands was not compatible with the need to expand their farm, “moving to Canada was the perfect opportunity for our family” states Nicolaas. Thus, New Galma Dairy was born. They will be hosting a trivia on their Facebook and Instagram pages as they narrate a deeper picture on their farm name.
The legacy of cheese-making lives on in the Zeldenrijks as their immediate family tends to all areas of the farm and cheese-making business. Nicolaas explained that, “every generation has different ideas and that is very important”. Four years ago their youngest daughter, Kimmely, went on a mission to the Netherlands to learn how to make Dutch cheeses. Wanting to expand her knowledge even further, she travelled in the total opposite direction to British Columbia where she apprenticed at a creamery there to gain a deeper insight on how Dutch-Canadians perfected the tradition.
Their oldest daughter, Marcella and daughter-in-law, Elora, are also involved in the sales side of the creamery. While the cheese-making keeps the family busy enough, their cows still need to be cared for and that is where their son, Lars and his wife Elora, step in and manage the home farm and calf division with the help of Bren, who is still in high school, but prefers to be on the farm versus in a classroom.
Currently, they are making small wheels of natural and flavoured gouda-style cheese and hope to someday expand their product line with more dairy products.
In the near future, they see themselves having to hire more staff to help with the cheese-making process as it is very labour intensive, or as they like to call it a “labour of love”. They are currently offering their artisanal products in their own storefront as well as some local individual cheese shops, but hope to eventually have a spot on the shelf in the larger chain grocery stores.
Becoming an educational hub is also a very important component within their business. Being able to show people how much love goes into their farm and creamery through tours and scheduled events is an experience that they are looking forward to providing to their visitors in the coming year. Having people tour the barns, see the happy cows, and watch the cheese-making process will help connect consumers to their product and really exemplify the farm-to-fork experience.
Presently, you can purchase their cheeses at their storefront on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30am to 4:30pm or at Two Girls and a Cheese Shop in Tillsonburg, Ingersoll Wine and Cheese Shop, and the Cheesy Cow Company in Woodstock. Check out their Instagram and Facebook pages for updates and more information on their history.