The story of Pajumäe farm

The story of Pajumäe farm: from roses to cheese

In 1989, when Viljar Veidenberg's father Arvo returned to the farm lands that had belonged to his father, he started farming by grow- ing young plants and roses. However, young plants were hard to sell and the farmer soon decided that it was time to re-orientate the business. As the farm had always had a milking cow, the farmer decided to start with dairy production.

The increasing number of cattle needed a barn. The family could not afford an insulated barn, so they built Estonia’s first cold cattle barn in 1993. The idea for such a barn came from the people of the Esto- nian Agricultural University, who had seen such a barn in the United States. Today all Estonian dairy cattle are accommodated in such cold cattle barns.

At first, all milk was sold to a collector. During the Russian crises, the milk price dropped three times and this fact inspired the idea to start processing milk on the farm. In 1998 they started with yoghurt, followed by curd cheese soon after.

Since the beginning of the restoration of the Pajumäe farm it has been important for the family that production does not damage the environment. The recognition of the Pajumäe farm as an organic farm in 2001 was a natural continuation of things. The organic farm does not use mineral fertilizers or plant protection products, and the cows have free access to graze-land. “Organic farming is the normal farm- ing,” stresses Viljar. They have a long-time goal to manage their fields and graze-lands in a sustainable way that supports biodiver- sity. The fodder ratios of the cows are decided upon through anal- ysis, in order for the cows to get balanced fodder and stay healthy.

"Organic farming is the normal farming"

The Pajumäe farm has received the title of the Organic Farm of the Year for long-time sustainable management in 2010 and the prize for promoting a green economy in 2012. Moreover, the farm was named as Estonian Best Production Farm and the Farm of the Year in 2012. As environmentally-friendly farming is a constantly developing field, the farming family keeps its eye on scientific literature in order to put new sustainable agricultural practices into use.

The Pajumäe dairy plant was recognized as organic in 2005. All their products are organic and much known and loved by Estonians. Cur- rently there are about 60 different dairy products produced at the dairy plant, including different tastes of yoghurt and curd cheese creams, butter, cream, cheese, ghee. They were also the first ones to sell raw milk at food stores in Estonia. Their organic kefir (a drink) received the Grand Prix at the competition “Best Farm Food 2016”.

Although the products of the Pajumäe farm are well known among Estonians, it is a never-ending task to stay known and to find modern solutions. Viljar has done a great job here. The farm now has a new logo and the products have newly designed labels. The home page has been updated and activities of the farm are made visi- ble on Facebook. Important cornerstone for the farm was opening the new milk plant in 2018 to bring the quality of the products to the next level. It is quite sure that there will be more interesting news to come. And who knows, maybe one day the roses that gave the farm a start, will find their way to dairy products? As in rose petal jam, for instance.