Art Snoek grew up in the Netherlands close to the city of Gouda, and as you might expect, he comes from a family of professional cheesemakers. When Art moved to Canada six years ago he continued that tradition, working on dairy farms and eventually starting a cheesemaking business near Innisfail with his wife, Jennifer.
“He’s a sixth generation cheese maker and wanted to keep the family tradition going. We use the family recipe that’s hundreds of years old,” Jennifer says.
Soon after they started making Alberta Pike gouda, word of their operation spread to another Alberta cheese maker, John Schalkwyk of Sylvan Star Cheese Farm.
“John heard about us from his customers. He was looking to retire and we were looking to expand, so it was perfect timing,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer and Art Snoek took over Sylvan Star in February 2022, keeping Art’s family recipe for Alberta Pike and following John’s family recipe for Sylvan Star. John still stops by to help out from time to time, and John’s son’s dairy farm still supplies the milk for Sylvan Star, ensuring the flavour of the award-winning cheese stays the same.
Local food from local farmers
The two gouda cheeses have distinct flavours — Sylvan Star cheese is a little sweeter and dryer, and Alberta Pike is a little more moist and creamy. The extra-aged Sylvan Star gouda known as ‘Grizzly’ has won many awards!
You can try both at the Sylvan Star farm store, where you’ll find a wide selection of local products to fill your pantry. Find your favourite flavoured gouda (there are over 25 to try), and choose a few other tasty cheeses from around the world to add variety to your cheese board. The store also sells quality meat from Central Alberta butchers, as well as jam, honey and other local crafts — and a great selection of European specialty items.
Find the farm store at 39008 Range Road 10, just off of Hwy 11A to the east of Sylvan Lake. The store is open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you’ll also find their delicious cheese at the Sylvan Lake Farmer’s Market (and many year round markets in Calgary, Edmonton and beyond).
Visit sylvanstarcheesefarm.ca or follow the Snoeks on Facebook to stay up to date as they expand the business. Interested in a tour? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.