In 1980, Ineke Booy and Martin de Groot, emigrated from Holland with their two daughters, Elske and Arwa. They began with a 250-acre dairy farm and welcomed two sons, Egbert and Norman shortly thereafter. After farming conventionally for ten years, Ineke and Martin became concerned about the impact of conventional farming and how it affected human health, the environment, their animals and their community. As conventional farmers they were commodity producers; much of what they grew and produced was sold to other companies for further refinement.
Call it mother’s intuition or a gut feeling, but as their children grew and their community connections deepened, Ineke knew that something had to change and she and Martin began to consider their options. They knew they wanted to produce food and connect with the earth and their customers, but they weren’t sure how this could look.
After much thought and deliberation, the decision was made to become organic. This was a first step in the direction of further community connection. In 1999, Mapleton’s Organic Dairy was officially born. Martin and Ineke began processing their organic milk into ice cream and fresh yogurt in a dairy built right on their farm. These products were sold on the farm and soon spread to small, local, retail stores. Product distribution soon expanded to exclusive shops all over Ontario and eventually, across the country.
The farm now consists of 400 acres of certified organic land and a herd of 70 milking cows producing 600,000L used for Mapleton’s products annually. Today Martin is joined by his daughter Arwa who is the herd manager of the farm.