Our names are Bas and Martha Froese-Kooijenga. We have lived and farmed here together for twenty-six 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 by 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 which we sold out of the milkhouse attached to the barn, as well as beef, pork, eggs and veggies. Soon after, we built the store and started adding to it.
Perogyfest Music Festival took place for the second time in 2019, with over 200 people in attendance, and featured 7 bands and artists.
Due to Covid, and too busy, there was no festival in the summers of 2020, 2021, and 2022. We hope to be back on track for Perogyfest 2023!
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, offer pasteurized milk from our pastured cows! The milk dispenser has been open to the public since April 2019. Bring your containers for fresh milk on tap, or purchase old-fashioned milk and cream bottles from our store, where we carry a variety of other dairy products as well.
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. 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 we buy is 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 very important to us.