In an age of health and wellness trends across America, Mid Fresian Dairy remains ahead of the curve. Meet the van der Ploeg family, who operate a 3,000 head dairy in Clovis, NM, producing fresh, whole yogurt for the Texas and New Mexico region.
Growing up in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, Andle van der Ploeg had the dream to move to the United States in his early twenties. His ambition led he and his wife, Sjierkje, to a small dairy farm in Event, Texas. Throughout the years, Andle and Sjierkje welcomed four children, who are all currently active in the dairy business. After years of researching climates, soil quality, water quality and state regulations across the U.S., Andle settled on Clovis, NM to be the land where he began his own dairy.
When asked if there were challenges transitioning from Europe to the U.S., Andle admits, “Sure. There was the language barrier, and culture. Dairies are much different between the two, as Europe has much more governmental regulations.”
Andle saw the opportunity on the land in New Mexico, and with family experience, passion, and a brain for the dairy market, constructed a high-functioning dairy that is environmentally conscious. The 3,000 head dairy makes the silage (feed for cows) and work with local farmers as well. Manure from the dairy is used to fertilize the ground, and cows are provided with large acreage, shaded areas and wind blocks. This approach to dairy farming decreases the carbon footprint by nearly 50%.
“Always be leading and learning and growing,” says Andle. Well, that’s just what they do at Mid Fresian Diary. Flash forward several years, and welcome the deliciously whole milk yogurt, Freanna, named after Andle’s first milk cow, Anna. This yogurt is unlike any others on the market: soft taste, full of probiotics and protein, and crafted with expertise. The yogurt comes in three varieties: plain, honey and agave.
“Yogurt is wonderful! It is so good for you and delicious, too,” gloats Andle. He advises that not one, but two servings of Freanna yogurt daily can increase health. “This yogurt is wholesome. It has a positive impact on our bodies, and we’ve had customers mention that their bodies crave it.”
Yogurt can be enjoyed for any meal of the day: as a hearty breakfast with oats, side salad mixed with fruit, or a scrumptious dessert with brown sugar and pecans. Recipes here!
Did I forget to mention the economic impact Mid Fresian has created in Clovis, NM, population 45,000? With an operation this size, Mid Fresian Dairy employs nine farm hands and 25 dairy hands, not to mention the labor offered in transportation. “We have amazing staff, great workers,” expresses Andle. And let it be known that females and males receive equal pay. How’s that for quality employment?
Andle, Sjierkje, Bart, Karla, Jeroen and Gerben are a special family who create a uniquely popular and healthy product, all the while supporting our environment, local businesses, and economy. If you haven’t had a chance to try their yogurt, look for it in Texas and New Mexico at these locations. You can learn more at www.freanna.com or Mid Frisian Dairy Facebook. Also, check out a video on the history of the dairy here!