We’re driving up the long, rocky, driveway that leads to That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm in Upper Economy. To the right, there is a field of cows. Most are grazing, two are play-fighting, and the smallest one is joyously running the length of the field. I am loosing it from cute-overload.
I expected to see cows at a cheese farm, but as we continue up the road, it becomes clear that the cows are just the welcome party for the paradise found at That Dutchman’s Farm. We park and are greeted by a peacock, the docile guard of the wooden gate that leads to That Dutchman’s walking trails.
The trails are man-made but beautifully overgrown. It’s easy to walk through, but looks more like a well-worn footpath than an intentional creation. There’s a bubbling brook that cuts through the trails and simple wood bridges and lush green plants.
There are animals hidden around every corner. We didn’t look at the map before we set out, so each animal encounter comes as a welcome surprise. Birds of all kinds are loosely caged, with many coming up to greet us during our walk. There are donkeys and emus, pot bellied pigs, mini-goats, rabbits, and Scottish highlanders (those adorable brown Scottish oxen).
The property is also home to a cheese shop, of course. The Dutchman is an authentic dutch cheese farm. They are well known for their goudas, smeerkaas and the delectable Dragon’s Breath Blue. Their Dragon’s Breath was actually named the best blue cheese in all of Canada at this year’s Canadian Cheese Awards.
Owners Willem and Maja have been making their award winning cheese at their peaceful Upper Economy property since 1980. They learned their craft in the Netherlands, hand-making their farmstead cheese using fresh cows milk and aging it in tune with the seasons, as would have happened before refrigeration was a thing.
They use to milk all the cows themselves, but today they purchase fresh milk so that they have more time to focus on the cheese (so the cows that greeted me are actually happily retired).
In addition to the nature trails, cheese production, and cheese shop, there is an on-site café with a simple menu of sandwiches, desserts, and fresh coffee. It’s currently closed for the 2014 season because the owners just welcomed their 7th grandson in June.
When a place can mix nature, animals and bubbling brooks with CHEESE, that’s paradise in my books. It’s well worth the 90 minute drive from Halifax. And, while it would make an excellent adventure for a day trip, I’d suggest planning to stay a little longer.
The drive along the Minas Basin between Economy and Cape Chignecto is one of my favourite scenic drives in the province. It is a winding, rollar-coaster ride of a road with an ocean view the whole way. If you go, stop at Five Island’s Provincial Park, just 20 minutes from the farm. From there, another 30 minutes will get you to Parrsborro where you’ll find BlackRock Bistro and Wine Bar, public art, Ships Company Theatre, and the Fundy Geological Museum.
112 Brown Road
Upper Economy, NS
Daily May-October 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
By Appointment December – April
This trip is part of our #NSJoyRide series. We went on an epic road trip along Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy thanks to the fine folks at Nova Scotia Tourism. They covered the costs of our week-long road trip. We hope you love following our tidal adventures. Check out more in this series here:
Five Islands Provincial Park
Catch of the Bay (Masstown Market)
Driftwood Park Retreat
Joggins UNESCO World Heritage Site
Irwin Lake Chalets
Tidal Bore Rafting
That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm (and nature paradise)
Kayaking The World’s Highest Tides