Sunnyside Creamery first in Saskatchewan to sell milk off the farm

Bas and Martha Froese-Kooijenga given approval to sell pasteurized milk from their farm gate store north of Saskatoon. 

Photo by Richard Marjan
Photo by Richard Marjan

Buying your milk straight off the farm is no longer a thing of the past in Saskatchewan.

Sunnyside Dairy, a small dairy north of Saskatoon with 30 milking cows, has become the first in the province to be able to sell milk directly from the farmyard at Sunnyside Creamery, set to open this fall.

Bas and Martha Froese-Kooijenga, who operate the Farmyard Market and Sunnyside Dairy, have been approved to sell milk at their farm gate store and immediately contracted a new milk pasteurizing facility for the property.

While health regulations will not allow anyone in Canada to sell raw milk, the Froese-Kooijengas can sell pasteurized milk as long as they abide by strict regulations (Martha took a pasteurization training course).

Sunnyside Creamery’s milk will be non-homogenized, which means the fat molecules are not broken down (the cream rises to the top).

They’ve ordered a coin-operated Swiss milk dispenser—the second of its kind in Canada—so customers can buy milk on tap.

"Press the button and you'll get your milk,” says Martha.

Customers can also take home fresh cream, cottage cheese and butter—and hopefully in 2019—cheese.

It was once common practice to buy milk directly from small dairies. For Martha, being able to sell her cows’ milk is a return to a simpler time of life; something she cherishes from growing up on the farm with her 11 siblings, where her mom always sold milk, cream and butter from the family’s dairy herd.

"It's old fashioned and I like that. And people are excited about it, too. There's a trend (towards) off the farm foods; the way it used to be.”

The Froese-Kooijengas’ small cattle herd lives outside for much of the year. Bas names each cow and calf; when he's milking the cows, he takes the time to groom and pet each one.

"We try to keep the cows happy. That's the goal.”