Mountain Oak Cheese
A Family and Cultural Tradition of Making Cheese the Right Way
Adam van Bergeijk and his wife Hannie took over the family dairy farm in Holland from Adam's parents in 1976. From the beginning, they had an interest in making artisan cheese on the farm. In 1981, they both attended the renowned cheesemaker's school in Gouda, a centre of cheesemaking expertise for over three hundred years. Now a teacher of cheesemaking himself, Adam has trained students from countries throughout Europe in the art of cheesemaking.
In Holland, the Van Bergeijks' prize-winning cheeses were very popular with local consumers, but there was little opportunity to grow as dairy farmers. Seeking a brighter future for their children, the family emigrated to Canada in 1996, where they purchased their present farm in Wilmot Township. Although the plan for Canada was to focus on dairy farming only, some of their original cheesemaking equipment found its way into the container destined for their new homeland. It wasn't long before they were making cheese for their own consumption.
Keeping it in the Family
Now that married sons Arjo, with his wife Baukje, on the home farm, and John, with his wife Angela, on a second nearby dairy, have taken over primary responsibility for the dairy herd, Adam and Hannie's passion to make cheese is blooming once more. With the encouragement of family, friends and neighbours, they have embarked on a new cheesemaking venture. Mountainoak Cheese is a modern, state-of-the-art processing plant that allows the van Bergeijks to continue the tradition of great-tasting, high-quality, Gouda-style cheeses made with high-quality, fresh milk from their own dairy cows.
Oh, and why "Mountainoak" you ask? There is no particular abundance of oaks on the farm, and certainly there are no mountains in Wilmot Township. A literal, English translation of the Dutch family name, "Van Bergeijk", would be "from the mountain oak". Coming to a new land where English is spoken, they chose "Mountainoak Farms" as the name of their dairy. When their dream to make cheese in Canada became a reality, it just made sense that fresh Mountainoak milk should be made into high quality, all natural, Mountainoak cheese!