Marieke Penterman of Marieke Gouda in Thorp is greeting fellow farmers and consumers with a smile and a cheese sample in Innovation Square at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Eau Claire.
Today is the final day of the three-day outdoor event showcasing the latest developments in production agriculture.
Of the five agribusinesses on Innovation Square, Penterman is representing the dairy industry. She says the dairy industry has always been innovative. What first comes to her mind is how technology has evolved to reduce the intensity of the labor required to operate a dairy farm.
But the farmstead off of Hwy 29 innovates in other ways too, such as offering value-added products on the farm. Marieke Gouda is not only a dairy farm, it is an award-winning gouda cheese processor, restaurant and interactive stop for curious consumers. She says this is what puts her on Innovation Square at this year’s Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
Penterman’s business also adjusts to what shoppers want. During a pandemic, outdoor farmers markets are booming with people searching for ingredients, including cheese, for at-home cooking. Penterman explains that the local food movement and at-home cooking has grown in popularity during COVID-19. Marieke Gouda shows consumers on social media and in-store how to use its Wisconsin gouda in recipes.