Annie and Geoff Nieuwenhuis started experimenting with making cheese in 2008.
They started using both cows’ milk and milk from the dairy goat herd they had just established on their Hawke’s Bay farm. They met when they both studied science at Massey University. Annie practised as a veterinarian for over thirty years and Geoff farmed and raised their five children. This meant they are were experts in animal care and husbandry, as well as growing the right feed for their goats.
They don’t do things by halves. Once they decided artisan cheesemaking was their future, they and their five children flew to Europe and spent 2010 driving from cheesery to cheesery learning authentic cheesemaking techniques from traditional artisans and goat farmers. They were equally bold in 2013 when they trucked a 1905 farmstead villa to their Te Hauke farm for their new home and cheesemaking manufactory, followed by building a goat barn in 2014. Their plan came together in 2018 when they established their brand and started selling their fresh goat cheese at farmers’ markets.
Two nice touches with their refurbished homestead are that the cheese is made in the old nannies room, and the nanny goats can be seen through the window.
Happy and healthy goats are fundamental to their vision of making fine farmstead cheese. Annie and Geoff run a mixture of Anglo-Nubian, Saanen, and Toggenburg goats (ears up, down and all around!). They collect the naturally homogenised milk from their herd each day (except winter) for pasteurisation. All the cheese is handcrafted on site. They make a range of classic cheeses but each reflect their location and unique adaptation of traditional methods, and they have already begun to win awards.
Nieuwenhuis Farmstead Cheese is now a family business with the second generation playing various roles, an inspiration to aspiring artisans.