The cheesery, called ‘De Terschellinger’ is also beginning to export its products
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The growth of the Terschellinger cheesery De Terschellinger is continuing at a pace, despite a ‘Corona-dip’ experienced earlier this year, reports the Omrop Fryslân. More and more chains are buying the range of cheeses; with the uptick in demand coming at just the right time. A milk-glut led to a 6-million litre excess, which has now been reduced down to 3-million litres.
Half of this comes from the organic farmers on the island and had already been earmarked for cheese-making. The other 1.5-million litres is from non-organic farmers and has come to the cheesery because of a decline in the hospitality sector.
De Terschellinger has come about from a project that aims to add value to the raw materials produced on Terschelling: in five years time each farmer will need to dedicate 20 percent of their land to bird habitats, and so have to make more money from less land.
“Across the country we’re being stocked in Coop, and also Spar and Hema. Those are the thre brands where we’re becoming part of the usual brands on offer”, says Wim Meure-Buren, of the cheesery. In two weeks, the cheese will also begin to appear on the shelves of a large German retailer. “Also great!”, says Meure Buren. “Lots of German people come her eon holiday, and they have spread the message about how good our cheese is”.
The small shop that’s attached to the cheesery is getting more and more busy. The growth is perhaps unsurprising, as the European cheese market is enormous. So, having the ‘Terschelling’ branding is also becoming more important. “Yes, it’s just a brand”, says Meure-Buren, “but it’s not just for cheese. Lots of people also have really fond memories of holidays on Terschelling, and if they have already tasted the cheese then they’ll know it has a really outstanding flavour”.
Farmers on the island are also benefitting: Gerard Cupido, a milk farmer from Lies, currently sends around half of his milk to the cheesery. All milk sent to be made into cheese provides an extra 2.5 cent boost per litre over the ‘standard’ milk price, which can be subject to price fixing from large distributors and supermarkets.
Cupido says: “we have made our business more green, and invested in the future. It’s our intention that we will get our investment back, and that after me someone will be able to continue the businesses. But, if that’s to come true, they have to be able to earn decent money, otherwise it’s not really likely that anyone would take the business over from me. We want to continue greening, and we want the rest of the country to join in. Not just us, but also the government must do something. But people have to get something out of their investment- otherwise people won’t spend the money.”
As someone that takes pride in his produce, Cupido is also highly supportive of the cheesery. “It’s good to know that your product is going somewhere good, and that people are enthusiastic about it. Tastes naturally change, but if people are fans of Terschellinger products, or other things from the Wadden Islands, and the products themselves are made on the islands, then that’s really great.”