Our names are Bas and Martha Froese-Kooijenga. We have lived and farmed here together for twenty-two years, although Martha was born and raised here too. Our Holstein herd started with twelve cows and has grown to thirty. We find this to be a nice, manageable herd size for us. Bas always dreamed of having a dairy farm, and Martha always dreamed of having a store. The location of our farm (beside busy highway #12) has helped to make the store a success.
Martha's parents, Peter and Susan Froese, raised twelve children on this farm. Many people know the location by the ice rink which used to grace the front yard every winter for thirty-five years in a row. They had a dairy, and later a mixed farm, selling eggs, cream, and cottage cheese as a sideline. They were humble, hard working, and hospitable people. We honour their memory through this store, and carrying on the family farm.
We started Farmyard Market in 2015 as our first business venture separate from the dairy. Martha started making perogies and pies and sold them out of the barn at first, as well as beef, pork, eggs and veggies. Soon after we built the store and started adding to it.
Our daughter, Ellen Froese, is a musician, so the three of us came up with Perogyfest Music Festival. It took place for the second time this past summer, with over 200 people in attendance, and featured 7 bands and artists.
The Sunnyside Creamery idea came as a result of many store customers asking for milk and milk products. It is illegal to sell raw milk so we wanted to do the next best thing. It has been open for business since April 2019. Bring your containers for fresh milk on tap, or purchase old-fashioned milk and cream bottles here! We now carry a small but growing variety of other cheese and other dairy products.
Some thoughts about how we raise our animals:
People often ask us if we are organic, as natural as possible, or if we ethically raise our animals.
We are plain and simple farmers who enjoy caring for our cows and pigs. We try to give them the best life possible because they give so much to us.
Naturally, our pasture grass is organic. The alfalfa grass hay that we buy may or may not be organic. The grain is not organic. If a cow is sick, we will give her antibiotics or other medicine, rather than letting her die - milk or meat from treated animals is kept out of the food chain until withdrawal times have been met.
Each cow has a name and gets one-on-one attention daily (most days with an extra brushing), as well as their own freshly bedded personal stall in the barn for sleeping. They are milked four at a time in the milking parlour, where they get to snack on grain in their personal stall (they remember this stall each time). Treating our animals well and keeping them happy is extremely important to us.