Posted : November 1, 2021
Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.
Sheldon Creek Dairy in Loretto (in the Headwaters township of Adjala-Tosorontio) is one of our farm-fresh producers who are proud of the wholesome milk and milk products they offer. Let us tell you all about this family-run farm and the fresh, local flavours you will find when you visit.
Welcome to Sheldon Creek Dairy
Sheldon Creek Dairy is the family farm of John and Bonnie den Haan, who operate it along with their daughters, Emily and Marianne, their son-in-law Mike, and the next generation of farmers, Wyatt and Walter. Farming has been a way of life for the den Haan family going back to just after the second world war, when John’s parents immigrated to Simcoe County from Holland and worked with their five children to purchase their own farm. Sheldon Creek Dairy was opened in 2012, and today, they craft the bounty from their purebred Holstein dairy herd into whole milk, yogurt, kefir, heavy cream, and many more wonderful items. These and other locally produced goods are sold not only by grocery retailers, restaurants and coffee shops, but also at Sheldon Creek’s on-farm market store.
What’s extra special about Sheldon Creek Dairy is the way their herd is looked after. This story will truly give you the warm and fuzzies… y’know, just in case you needed extra reassurance that you’re supporting a wholesome operation. To start with, all the cows at Sheldon creek have names, and detailed family trees. In fact, the original cow, Maggie, was farmer John’s first 4-H calf project, and today, a large percentage of the herd is made up of her descendants. From May to November, the Sheldon Creek herd grazes in farm pastures, and in the winter, they are warm and cozy in the barn, with short periods of daily exercise. Like their individual names, each cow has her own individual meal plan which includes hay, high-moisture corn, and a mix of silage—a much enjoyed treat. All this love and attention can be tasted in the quality of milk these pampered madams produce.
Come visit the farm
One of the best things about going straight to the source for your Ontario-produced dairy is that you get to experience first-hand what it’s like to be on a dairy farm. The on-farm market at Sheldon Creek Dairy has all kinds of goodies. Of course, there are the dairy-based delights like A2 fresh milk, in regular or chocolate flavour, delicious cream, ice cream, kefir and yogurt. But Sheldon Creek also raises a herd of Shorthorns for pasture-fed beef. And, you can also shop for other meats and eggs, frozen meals, baked goods, fruits and vegetables, and even treats for your pets (to name just a small selection of the variety available). Many of these items come from surrounding farms, which is a testament to how local, family-run farms help one another to thrive [insert more warm and fuzzies here]. If you’re not able to get out to the farm, let the farm come to you. Sheldon Creek Dairy has a delivery program where you can order items to be brought to your home in certain areas for same week delivery.
Currently, there are no farm tours being run because of COVID-19. However, prior to the pandemic, farm tours at Sheldon Creek were a much-loved feature for guests of all ages. Throughout this 45-minute, fun-filled experience, guests were provided the opportunity to learn about sustainability, cow nutrition, how the farm works, and how what cows eat affects the quality of their milk—which in turn affects the quality of your food. For the kids, there is an outdoor play area open in the summer months, with swings, a climbing dome and a spin wheel. We can’t wait until the folks at Sheldon Creek can open their tours back up, so that more guests can have this wonderful farm adventure.
What is A2 fresh milk?
Let’s start with the basics: when it comes to milk, you can taste the difference with Sheldon Creek. Their milk is minimally pasteurized and non-homogenized, which allows the nutrients to remain in tact, and renders a milk product that is easier to digest. A2 milk is differentiated from A1 milk by the type of protein it contains. The A2 variation of protein may be beneficial for individuals with allergies, autoimmune disorders and lactose intolerance. In all of Ontario, Sheldon Creek is the only dairy that produces A2 fresh milk. For more information on A2 fresh milk, visit Sheldon Creek’s website here.
Interestingly, cows at Sheldon Creek enjoy a voluntary milking system. That’s right—each cow gets to decide when she wants to be milked. This voluntary milking system is set up operationally to differentiate between milk that is of the A2 protein variety and of the A1 variety, to make sure these two types of milk are not accidentally mixed. But whether you A1 or A2, it’s all the same, great fresh taste and quality at Sheldon Creek Dairy.
Visit the den Haans and their herd at the on-farm store today, and get a first-hand look at how a local, family operation brings farm-fresh to your table this harvest season. Visit Sheldon Creek Dairy at 4300 Concession Rd. 5, Loretto, or online at www.sheldoncreekdairy.ca.
Story by Katherine Ryalen