Why Sustainability Matters at Beemster

Protecting our environment has never been more important. The term sustainability gets thrown around a lot, but what exactly does it mean? It’s certainly a buzzword we hear often. Sure, it sounds great. But for us at Beemster, sustainability is much more than a catchphrase. It’s a core value and an essential part of everything we do.

To us, sustainability means creating and nurturing a system that enriches the environment rather than damaging it. We’re committed to ensuring the health and happiness of our cows, our farmers, and the planet.

Caring for our Animals and the Environment

Beemster cheese is currently carbon neutral. We’re working hard to become climate neutral by 2020.

As cheesemakers, we believe great cheese begins with happy animals. Our cows and goats are raised humanely in small herds. They are looked after by farmers who often have been raising animals for many generations. In the spring and summer months, they graze freely on the Beemster polder’s lush pastures where they munch on grass, herbs, and wildflowers. When the weather turns cold, the cows head inside where they have ample space, fresh air, and light. Special waterbeds and massaging brushes ensure they are comfortable. In winter, they eat hay grown on our own farms.

When an animal is unwell and requires treatment, she is removed from the herd and her milk is discarded. Only veterinarians may administer antibiotics to sick cows and goats when absolutely necessary. After an animal is healthy, there is a waiting period before her milk will be tested for any antibiotic residue. Only then, when the animal is completely healthy and the milk is free of all antibiotics, will it enter the supply chain again. Our cows and goats are never administered artificial growth hormones.

A Sustainable Process from Start to Finish

In 2014, we built a brand new dairy with sustainable building materials, recycled water, and reduced electricity output. We’re proud that our cheesemaking facility is the greenest dairy in the world. From our office operations through our production, we are optimized for energy efficiency. Whey is never wasted.

Our award-winning design maximizes natural light and makes it easy for our team to interact with the outside environment. Beemster cheese is truly “slow food,” made according to more than a hundred years of tradition. We use artisanal techniques and age our cheeses naturally on wooden planks in historic stone warehouses.

Auditing and Reporting

Sustainability is a continuous endeavor—auditing keeps us sharp and at the cutting edge. Our Caring Dairy auditing program ensures that animals are monitored for safe and healthy conditions. Our farmers regularly attend professional development classes to stay up-to-date on best practices. We closely monitor our process and practices to continue to reduce the impact of farming and production on the planet. We have an entire team dedicated to sustainability. They continue to learn what factors affect sustainability and green practices and ensure that we are always getting better.

Why all this Effort?

We work tirelessly for sustainability because we care about our planet and the quality of cheese we supply to our customers around the world.

Research has shown that properly managed free-grazing, grass-fed dairy farming is not only an ethical way to raise animals, but also has a lower impact on the environment.  Sustainable dairy operations mean less chemical fertilizers and pesticides, less water pollution, and healthier, richer soil.

When it comes to sustainable cheesemaking, it’s not only about the environment. It’s also about sustaining a way of life, sustaining heritage. When we protect the planet, we protect opportunity for a future. Our farmer-owned cooperative was founded in 1901 to protect the land and establish the quality and standards that continue to define Beemster.

As we grow and innovate, we stay true to our roots. We hope to be around for many generations to come, and to leave the world a little bit happier, healthier…and more delicious.