Hanz and Rianne
Dutchman Hanz Waard does not feel like a foreigner, he has lived for a long time in Jokkmokk and even if he tried to return to Holland, he says he knows deep down that he would end up back in Jokkmokk anyway.
He has run Skabram holiday village for over eight years now and just over a year ago, changed the company name to Skabram Tourism & Dairy Farm. This name change was the final part substantial investment and hard work, which now enables Hanz to call himself a mountain cow farmer. Becoming Rural Entrepreneurs of the year was a welcome recognition of their hard work.
On the farm are ten beautiful mountain cows roaming around and the milk, which contains a lot of butter fat, is curdled and processed into traditional Dutch Gouda cheese. At his side is Rianne Dasselaar who is also from Holland and together, they also make fine handicraft products. Producing unpasteurized cheese is a time consuming procedure which takes at least five months of storage to see a result.
“It's easy to make cheese, but making cheese with the same taste and quality all the time is where the art is. We are already making a good quality product, but we want to make it even better, "says Hanz, who says that with the current setup, they will eventually be able to produce nearly six tons of cheese per year.
The “Project for foreign workers” helped Hanz, although he has said that he and Rianne no longer identify themselves as foreigners. “The cows were not easy to work with, they were unruly and it was a difficult to deal with the animals in the beginning. Being a farmer is hard, it does not come easily. When cows are roaming freely, it is often hard to get them inside when you need to. They were as wild as elk, "says Hanz as he chuckles at the memory.
Throughout the project, he worked with a coach who is a third generation farmer. His mere presence made the cows cooperative. “It's all about feeling. When Olaf Köhler drove the cows in, all went well. I simply thought it was just not possible. He did not really show me how, just that it was possible. After that it was very different. He really had a lot to teach me "says Hanz and he now believes that interaction with the animals is a farmers greatest pleasure.
Since he started his company, he has received a lot of help from Strukturum. “Sometimes it is great just to discuss s few questions with someone”. It is very comforting to have Strukturum standing by waiting to help whenever I need them.