Leerdammer Free Grazing Promise
One of the most important aspects of long-term sustainability is our ‘free-grazing promise’. We have a vision of ‘free-range cheese’ and although that’s not an official term, it guides what we do. It’s all about making our cheese in the best, most natural way that we can.
In essence, free-grazing is allowing cows to graze freely in the fields close to our farms and dairies.
From spring to autumn, our cows will be outside enjoying the fresh air, grazing in the fields for a minimum of 6 hours a day, for 120 days a year.
For the rest of the time, they are indoors. The Dutch climate doesn’t permit all year-round grazing: winters can be freezing cold and summers extremely hot – and neither are good for the cows. So, for some of the year, it’s simply better for them to stay indoors in cow-sheds.
This has been developed in line with the recommendations of the Dutch Foundation Weidegang (“Stichting Weidegang”), which has set a standard recognized in the industry.
Every single slice or piece of cheese which we sell is made from milk which comes from free-grazing cows.
Leerdammer is made near the village of Leerdamm in a central, and lush region of the Netherlands where our 1200 partner-farms, with their herds of dairy cows, are located. We work closely with farmers to ensure the welfare of the cows & quality of the milk produced.
For the farmers, free-grazing requires extra effort, but there are extra benefits too:
The ‘Pasture Milk Premium’ – Our farmers get paid a premium of €0.2/per litre of milk.
Training & Support – Our 1200 farmers can attend regular workshops to address practical issues. In recent times they’ve covered topics such as bio-diversity, energy efficiency and grazing. They also have the ongoing support of the network and our expert dairy technicians.