Cherries, cheese and the summer breeze

Samantha Engelhardt, '15; Jennie Lubbers, '15; Caitlin McNichols, '15

May 21, 2014

Today we got to spend the day in Doorn. It was a beautiful day to go on a bike ride. We received our bikes at Jolanda’s house, she was our tour guide. We arrived to a surprise when we got there; she had planned a little birthday get-together for the two birthday girls in our group. We were able to eat some delicious fruit juice and a beautiful pink fruit cake. The cows joined us later and surrounded our group. When we prepared for our excursion, we realized that a bunch of the bikes were quite large, but we fitted them to each person as best as we could. Our first pit stop was at a cherry orchard and we got a full tour of the farm and the developing museum. The weather in Holland has been difficult for farmers to deal with; 100% of his apples were destroyed and some of his cherries were also affected due to hail the previous week. His struggles reminded us of how last year’s fruit production was down in Michigan, and we could relate to the difficulties that farming entails.

We hopped on our bikes after a quick look around the shop at the cherry farm and rode to a windmill for a tour. It was no longer functional, but the owner turned it on so we could see how it worked. We were able to climb up the steep stairs to a deck with an amazing view. Everyone was able to take pictures before we were off again for another beautiful bike ride. Our next stop was an organic cheese company where we had the opportunity to tour the building and see the cheese making process. One of the unique aspects of their business was their salt bath for the newly formed cheese. They transformed the past swine facility into the salt room and they didn’t have much room to work with so they installed it into the ground.  We were all very impressed with their ability to utilize the space they had. They couldn’t expand the building so they built the bath into the floor and stands to go within the water. They were kind enough to provide us with milk and tea. Something unique was that the milk was unpasteurized therefore it was raw milk; in the U.S. you can’t buy unpasteurized milk so it was a new experience for many of us.

We continued on our bikes to the last stop, which was back at Jolanda’s farm. We had a delicious barbeque, played soccer with her son, and then toured her farm. Her farm had an interesting way to feed cattle. They would put the food in the middle of a small alley and the headlocks would move forward towards the feed by pushing a button. We found this extremely inventive and no one had seen anything like that before. None of us wanted to leave since Jolanda was very friendly and we all had a great time. It was definitely a good day and left us with memories to think about on our bus ride to Dronten.

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