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Our Story.

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Promise Valley Farm + Creamery is a small, family-run organic dairy farm located in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

Promise Valley Farm + Creamery was established in 2021 by husband-and-wife team Mark and Caroline Nagtegaal, where they live with their four children and dog, Skip. 

It's been been quite the journey!

 

The desire to milk cows has run strong for Mark and Caroline for as long as they can remember, but opportunities in the dairy industry can be difficult to find. Their first experience milking cows on their own was a small herd on a rented farm, filling rented quota. This lasted for a couple of years, at which time they had the opportunity to purchase a recently empty dairy farm on Richards Trail in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

 

Little did they know at the time that this would become Promise Valley Farm.

 

They spent the next decade milking a small herd of Holsteins under the very ingenious prefix Carmark. At this point the farm itself lacked a name and it just operated simply as Carmark Holsteins. First generation dairy farming can be very difficult; eventually, it took its toll and in the summer of 2015 they decided to liquidate the cows and quota in order to reevaluate.

 

 

 

 

Over the years, the idea of processing their own dairy products in order to make dairy farming possible had come up a number of times, but never really took hold. This all changed when Mark and Caroline were first introduced to the Guernsey breed of cattle. In the fall of 2018, they had their very first introduction to Guernsey cows at a dairy processing company in Custer, Washington called Grace Harbor Farm. There, they produce yogurt and kefir made from milk from a local Guernsey herd. After visiting Grace Harbor Farm in Washington, and tasting their products, they asked if they could see the cattle that produced the milk to make these products. After seeing Guernseys up close they immediately knew that this was going to be the future for them. It was also around this time that they named our place on Richards Trail ‘Promise Valley Farm'.  

 

So, after spending some time away from dairy farming they were now planning how to reenter the industry in a completely new way.

On-farm processing and direct marketing of their dairy products became the key to establishing a viable dairy farm. This decision began the process of developing an on farm processing plant. Plans for the processing plant to be built inside the existing building that houses the milking parlour and dairy were approved in the fall of 2019. And so began the construction of what is now Promise Valley Creamery, a small on-farm processing plant that produces fresh whole milk from a self serve milk dispenser as well as small-batch, cup-set whole milk yogurt.

During the time that they have been developing the processing plant, Mark and Caroline have been learning a lot about food production. There is so much to learn, but through this process they decided to pursue converting Promise Valley Farm to certified organic. As of August 2022, we are now certified organic. 

We look forward to welcoming you to the farm!