Farm to Table | TUNAWERTH

Farm to Table | TUNAWERTH

Anita de Boer, co-owner of Tunawerth, was born in the United States, but raised in the Netherlands. Her husband, Peter de Boer, the other half of Tunawerth, was born and raised on a Dutch dairy farm. Besides geography, the two share an intense passion for dairy foods that has shaped their lives. They have both been fortunate enough to build their livelihood around the same devotion.

Even as a kid, Peter dreamed of becoming a dairyman. Due to government restrictions regarding land management though, a career as a dairy farmer seemed challenging at best. So Peter, with an interest in the future, immigrated to the United States 19 years ago. He rented his first dairy farm with just 15 cows to his name.

Using a low-pasteurization process, Tunawerth is able to kill harmful bacteria in its product while still leaving the live enzymes intact. Because their milk isn’t processed, Anita explains, “your body can more easily recognize and deal with the product as it already is – in its natural state”. Anita feels that lactose intolerance, which is quite common these days, is more a result of the pasteurization process than the fault of the actual milk product itself.

Since Anita and Peter do treat their animals when they’re sick, Tunawerth doesn’t necessarily meet the criteria of an organic farm. But just like people consult a doctor when they’re in pain, Anita and Peter try to reduce the needless suffering of their animals. They opt for the value of promoting the health and happiness of their animals, therefore, over the value of branding their farm as organic.

Because life as small dairy farmer is a less than lucrative business these days, Tunawerth relies heavily on its creamery to support its dairy. “In fact”, Anita claims, “if it weren’t for the creamery, we’d be out of business”.

Anita and Peter are currently milking 100 cows on their dairy. They do raise their own herd, yet it takes two years for an animal to reach maturity — it’s not until a cow bears its first calf that it begins producing milk. For a small dairy, this delay can be an obstacle for business. Although it’s a difficult time for small dairies to keep going, they continue because, as Anita says: “It’s about the future that we’re giving our children.”

Sometimes idealism busies itself with the buckles on its shoes as if peering for a reflection of its own face; other times it remembers to look upward and forward beyond its own feet. Tunawerth, with eyes on the horizon, wants to leave something meaningful behind for those who mean so much to them. For them it’s not a matter of reflection; it’s a matter of substance. Let’s follow that light.


By Todd B. Gruel