Marieke Gouda is the embodiment of a Dutch tradition transplanted to American soil. Born and raised in the Netherlands on her family's dairy farm, Marieke Penterman's passion for dairy farming started early. After obtaining her Bachelor's Degree in Dairy Business, she pursued a career as a farm inspector. Meanwhile, her future husband, Rolf Penterman, ventured to Thorp, Wisconsin, to establish a 350-cow dairy farm in 2002. Thorp, with its rich dairy heritage and farm-friendly community, proved to be the perfect setting. A year later, Marieke joined Rolf in the United States, where she couldn't help but miss the cheese from her homeland. She embarked on a mission to bring authentic Dutch Gouda cheese to American tables, acquiring her Wisconsin Cheesemaking License and honing her craft alongside local and Dutch cheesemakers.
What followed was a cascade of accolades, starting with a gold award at the US Champion Cheese Contest in 2007, just four months after Marieke crafted her first batch of Gouda. Awards continued to pour in, including the prestigious United States Grand Champion in 2013. Marieke herself made history by winning the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Award in 2015, becoming the first female recipient of this honor.
Marieke Gouda is not just about cheese; it's a commitment to tradition, quality, and innovation. The cheeses are handcrafted using an authentic Old World technique and aged on Dutch Pine planks for at least 60 days, ensuring that each wheel of Gouda embodies tradition and excellence. The cows, primarily Holsteins, enjoy a life of comfort and care in a free-stall barn, where their well-being is paramount. Marieke Gouda is more than just cheese; it's a celebration of tradition, quality, and a supportive, inclusive environment where women, including Marieke herself, lead the way.