Marieke and Rolf Penterman both grew up on dairy farms in the Netherlands, however, when Rolf was at the age where he was ready to start his own business there was no good (or affordable!) farmland available for him to start his own operation. He decided to relocate to Thorp, Wisconsin, where he started a 350 cow dairy. Marieke, his wife, got her Bachelor's Degree in dairy science, and began her career in Holland as a farm inspector. She followed Rolf to the U.S. in 2003, but missed the cheese from back home, so she decided to make her own Dutch Gouda in America. After getting her cheesemaker's license from the state of Wisconsin and completing an apprenticeship in Holland, she began producing her own Dutch-style Gouda cheese.
Just four months after producing her first batch of cheese, Marieke was awarded a gold medal at the US Champion Cheese Contest. Dozens of awards followed, including the 2013 United States Grand Champion Cheese, and the 2015 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Award for the state of Wisconsin - for which she was the first woman to ever win the accolade. Marieke and Rolf have five children, milk 800 Holstein cows, and make some of the best Gouda cheese in the United States, and indeed, the world!
Curious to learn more about Gouda cheese? Read our blog post!