Once upon a time..... March 1980 : Armed with plenty of adventurous spirit and the assurance that God was directing their paths, Georges-André and Christiane Petermann left Switzerland with their 4 young children in tow to immigrate to Canada, settling as dairy farmers in beautiful Renfrew County. Every member of the family was actively involved in the hard and fulfilling work of farm life, and Nick -the only son- knew one thing . He wanted to carry on the strong family tradition.
Farming was more than a job to Nick, it was a committed lifestyle. It was his enthusiasm, love of nature, and the lure of the freedom that comes from being self-employed that convinced his sweetheart, Steph Darsaut, to leave the high rises of Ottawa behind for the fields of Renfrew County. Married at the tender ages of 20 and 22, they were given the opportunity to purchase and take over operation of the farm three years later....
Today..... Nick & Steph : We have been so blessed to raise our four children- Fiona, Sonya, Fritz and Franz- on the farm! For us it's a lifestyle enriched by ties to our cultural heritage that includes a strong work ethic and commitment to doing things well. Caring for the animals and the land has been a responsibility and privilege we've shared together and everyone took their turn ; milking the cows, feeding and cleaning, planting crops, picking stones, harvesting and tending the vegetable garden. So many good memories of working and doing life together! One thing we always wished to have more of was the opportunity to interact with the people who were the end consumers of the fresh milk we worked so hard to produce. As it was, every second day the milk truck would come, load our milk, then disappear down the driveway. That was it. For a time we knew our milk was going to Brum's Dairy and it made us feel great to know that local kids were drinking Petermann Holsteins milk at school. But we needed to do more to strengthen that connection and shorten the gap between farmers and the many people who eat and enjoy the goodness of dairy. Many ideas were bounced back and forth at the dinner table and after much prayer and planning, Farmstead Cheesehouse was born.
And here we are today - grateful for the support and encouragement from our wonderful community! Since opening on June 10th 2019 we have been blessed to meet so many neighbours and friends in our small café and gelateria at the entrance of Pembroke, just 5 minutes from the family farm. A place to connect daily with the people who live in, work in and visit the area. A place where we can convert fresh milk from Ontario farms into delicious Italian gelato. A place where you can sample and purchase amazing cheeses produced on other family dairy farms in Ontario and Quebec. A quiet place where you can have a wifi-free visit with an old friend over coffee and enjoy a light lunch. We are also so happy to have the opportunity to highlight and promote other amazing local farm-related products from small communities around Renfrew County and beyond. Will the milk from the Petermann dairy farm one day flow directly through Farmstead Cheesehouse to make fresh curds, yogourt and cheese? Only time will tell. For now our focus is on supplying our community with top quality authentic Gelato and provide access to farm cheeses currently being made by those who have already ventured into on-farm production. We will be so happy to welcome you to our little Cheesehouse! And everyone knows that the next best thing to going to Italy is having a little taste of it right down the road - Mmmmm - GELATO !