Frequently Asked Questions
How many cows do you have?
We have 435 cows in our barn, that includes our dry cows. There are 350 cows that are milked every day.
How many times a day are the cows being milked?
Our cows are being milked 3 times each day. The milking cycles start at 5am, 1pm and 9pm.
How many cows do you milk per hour?
About 90 cows are being milked per hour.
What kind of milking system do you have?
We milk with a 12 Herringbone system with rapid exit.
Can we see the cows being milked?
Yes! You can see the cows being milked during our opening hours (8am-4pm). The milking parlor can be viewed through several viewing windows. The milking parlor is located across the Marieke Gouda Store, just a few steps away.
If you would like to see the barn and meet the cows, please book a guided tour with us!
Of what cows does your herd consist?
The majority of our cows are Holsteins, we also have Brown Swiss and a few cross breds.
Is your milk BST free?
Yes, our milk is BST (rBGH) free.
Marieke Gouda Cheese Making
What are the ingredients of Marieke Gouda Cheese?
All cheeses are made with the raw milk of our own cows at Penterman Farm. Then culture and rennet are added. Herbs are added to make different flavors (for example foenegreek, mustard, cumin, etc.). After this process our cheeses are being salt brined before they go into the aging room.
Do you pasteurize your milk?
We do not pasteurize our milk before we make it into cheese. Our cheese is made with raw milk. It is pumped directly from the cow into our cheese vat, fresh and warm.
Since it is a raw milk product, according to regulations we then have to hold the cheese for 60 days before we can legally sell it. Before the cheese leaves our shelves, we go the extra mile and test for Listeria, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli (which is NOT a requirement by the state, but we want to make sure our product is safe to consume at all times.)
When do you make your cheese?
We make cheese Monday through Saturday. The process starts at about 8 am and usually ends about 2:30 pm. Some days of the week we are making Marieke Gouda twice a day. These days vary throughout the week. The cheese making process can be viewed from within the store through windows. Please visit us in Thorp, WI.
How much milk is needed for making 1 pound of cheese?
For every 10 pounds of milk you can make 1 pound of cheese.
How long does it take to make the cheese?
It is about 5 hours from milking the cow until the milk is made into cheese and is being pressed in cheese molds. After this the cheese is being brined and aged for at least 60 days.
How many cheeses do you make per day?
We make 45 wheels of Marieke Gouda each day and sometimes even 90! Each wheels weighs around 20 lbs.
How does the Marieke Gouda cheese age?
The wheels are stored in a special aging room and are aged on Dutch and American pine planks which absorb the moisture as these cheeses age.
As it ages, it develops a caramel sweetness and has a slight crunchiness from crystallization from the calcium, especially in older cheeses.
How much does a cheese wheel weigh?
A wheel of cheese weighs about 20 lbs. Our cheeses are handcrafted and could differ in weight, also because of the aging of the cheeses, the older the cheeses the less weight because there is less moisture in the cheese when older.
Is your cheese made with animal or vegetable rennet?
Most of our cheeses are made with animal rennet. We use animal rennet because we make an authentic Dutch Gouda, and that is how it was originally made when it was created in Gouda, Holland in the Netherlands. We also have a cheese that is made with vegetable rennet; Marieke Golden.
What is the coating made of that is on your cheese?
We use a food-grade, plastic polymer coating that we hand-paint on our cheese wheels. It is a breathable para coating. This coating dries up as plastic and lets the oxygen in and the moisture out, allowing the cheese to “breath” and therefore continue to age, developing a sweeter, more intense flavor. It takes four days to apply two coats onto the cheese wheels.
How many awards have you won?
We won over 100 national and international awards.
What was the most prestigious award you won?
In 2013 the Marieke Gouda 6-9 months won the US Championship Award!
Marieke Gouda Store & Tours
What are your opening hours?
We are open 7 days a week from 8am-4pm. We are closed on New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Chirstmas Day.
Is the creamery open for tours?
Yes and no;-). The production areas in the creamery are not open for tours, but all areas (production, brine tank, coating and aging room) are viewable throught the viewing windows from within our Marieke Gouda store in Thorp, WI.
Do you give tours?
Yes, tours are available. You are welcome to self-guided tours of the parlor observation area in the Farm and the Creamery, during business hours (8 am - 4 pm daily).
Guided tours are also available, which include touring the barn. We have tours twice a day at 9 am and 1 pm. Please check here for more information. Guided tours need to be prearranged.
How can Marieke Gouda cheese best be stored and consumed?
Marieke Gouda cheese can best be vacuum packed and stored in the refrigerator. After opening store in a plastic wrap, zip lock bag or cheese paper in the refrigerator. For consumption we recommend to take it out the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before consumption. Marieke Gouda is at its best at room temperature.
We do not recommend to freeze our cheese.
Are your cheeses artificially flavored or colored?
No, our cheeses are not artifically flavored or colored.
Marieke Gouda Cheeses contain natural ingredients.
Is Marieke Gouda Cheese suitable for vegetarians?
The Marieke Golden cheeses are made with a vegetable rennet. All our other Marieke Gouda cheeses are made using a rennet from animals.
Is Marieke Gouda Cheese Halal certified?
No, Marieke Gouda Cheese is not Halal certified.
Is Marieke Gouda Cheese Kosher certified?
No, Marieke Gouda Cheese is not Kosher certified.