A Look at Jeroen and Rosalind’s Lively Farm

sustainable

Dynamic organic farming with a heart of animals and nature: Natural Pleasure Farm does it all. Located in beautiful Schermer, the company includes a dairy farm, meadows filled with old Dutch Blaarkop cows, a hay drying barn, a camping site, and a small scale farm shop. Owner Jeroen Rabbit actually made the decision in 2005 to move to biodynamic farming, at a time when expansion was the order of the day. The choice to take a sustainable path pays off, because more and more consumers are asking for such products. Along with his wife Rosalindi and his three children, Jeron wants to keep this way of working alive. We spent a day on the farm among roaming cows, sheep and chickens.

During Rosalie Pudding

Jeroen Rabbit took over the Natural Pleasure farm from his parents. In 1997 they decided to switch to organic farming and in 2005 Jeroen and Rosalind went for Biodynamics. At the time, they noticed that expansion was not the path they wanted to follow. Giron explains: “We strive for a self-regulating agricultural system, with as few external inputs as possible. We chose high-quality natural food.” The rabbit family owns cows for milk and meat production, sheep for meat, some chickens for eggs and a vegetable garden.


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

Antibiotics

The main difference between normal and biodynamic farming: No fertilizers or chemicals are used and the animals are fed with organic feed. In addition, cows are allowed to keep their horns and calves remain with their mothers for a few weeks. Although animals may be given antibiotics, this is not the case here.

Jeroen: “With simple herbs, that’s no longer necessary. Cinnamon, thyme, pepper, and parsley, for example, act as natural antibiotics. We look for the right grass for the right animal. Because we have a strong, healthy breed of cows, it just isn’t necessary. Cows are in equilibrium and are Outside a lot. Also young. Cows are ruminants and can live very well on a variety of natural grasses in pastures. This keeps them in balance.”


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

Waking up early

Natural Pleasure delivers meat and milk to your home that is literally needed; Especially since Corona. Rosalindi: “We’re noticing that more and more people are looking for healthy food.” A day at the Natural Pleasure Ranch means getting up early. Jeron: First we get the cows out of the ground to milk them. This is very beautiful. See the sunrise and hear the birds chirping. Then the calves are fed.” Around eight in the morning, the family gathers at the breakfast table. Then the work is done on the ground. “At the moment, we mainly mow the grass to make hay bales for the winter, and spread the compost on the ground.”

Herbs as natural antibiotics

“At five o’clock the cows are taken out of the field again for milking. We finished about seven o’clock, then the animals come out again. In the evening we go for a walk and count the calves and cows (calves from one to two years, ed.).”


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

In short: a nice evening walk in the Eilandspolder area, where there are many farmers who run plots of land. The best thing about his profession is “being in nature with animals”. Glowing: “The calves are born, the view of the meadows, seeing the clover grow, the earth green. Yes, that makes me happy. If the children want it, they can later take over the company. They are now 12, 10, 8 and already help out with the housework, like herding lambs and tapping Hay in a drying shed (Raising, ed.).” Additionally, the Rabbit family has a campground next to the farm. Jeroen: “Guests can help pick up the cows, which is always fun. That way they get a taste of farm life. Classes also drop off regularly in the educational afternoon.”


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

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All Natural Pleasure products bear the Demeter Quality Mark for Biodynamic Agriculture and Food. The milk is sold to Zuiverzuivel. The Rabbit family also enjoys its own products: tender meat, delicious milk and eggs. Rosalind makes her own kefir. “We also have a beautiful vegetable garden where we eat delicious. Since different crops are grown side by side, a healthy ratio is created. Vegetables are less vulnerable, and as a result we are not bothered by pests.” Many products are sold in a small agricultural shop on the farm.


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

Peasants’ protests

Although Jeron is a proponent of sustainable agriculture, he is also behind the current farmers’ protests. “I can’t agree with the way the plans are being presented now. The nitrogen story is not based on facts. Hopefully this does not turn out to be true.”

“Nitrogen policy is not based on facts”

He continues: “I am convinced that the starting point should be a healing system in harmony with nature. We need to demand less of our livestock, with less production stress and a good ratio between the number of hectares and the amount of animals. The consumer is also becoming more aware of this. We want to produce for a fee. Reasonable, not at predatory prices. But if we are no longer allowed to produce at all, sooner or later hunger will arise.”

“When I look at the Eilandspolder, I see that not much has changed there. These are nature reserves that we farmers keep. This requires good agricultural management. If farmers have to leave here, who will take care of these large natural areas? Subsidies must then be allocated to this, which is paid of tax money. This is not a system that can run for long. Farmers passionately work on it and maintain it. If it doesn’t, the consequences will be dire. Things get tough and if the pasture gets too wet, the cows can get sick. Then you need chemicals that you don’t want Use it. In short: Use common sense and think clearly. Nature has something to do with it.”


Photo: AGheeremansPhotography

By Rosalie Pudding

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