AUSTIN, Texas (September 6, 2001) Whole Foods Market is proud to introduce an exclusive assortment of handcrafted, organic Gouda cheeses directly from Holland's premiere producer, Bastiaansen. Blending the old-world style of making cheese with fine, organic ingredients, Bastiaansen brings a wonderful depth and complexity to relatively young cheeses (less than three months in age) that are mild enough for everyday enjoyment. Bastiaansen cheesemakers are true artisans and the company's facility mirrors its Netherlands roots, as windmills power production and organic Gouda gently ages on wooden shelves.

Whole Foods Market offers this remarkable Gouda in four delicious varieties: blue, smoked, mild and light. Following is a brief description of each:

  • Mild Gouda:

    Perfect for sandwiches, picnics or recipes, this classic Gouda is delightfully creamy with a pleasant, full flavor. Price: $5.99/lb

  • Light Gouda:

    A lighter version of the classic mild Gouda, the taste is remarkably rich for a cheese with half the fat. Price: $6.99/lb

  • Smoked Gouda:

    Beechwood smoke infuses this cheese during the smoking process in Bastiaansen's special cabins. The result is a buttery texture and nutty, smooth finish. Price: $8.99/lb

  • Blue Gouda:

    Unique in flavor and appearance, Bastiaansen handcrafts the world's only blue Gouda. A guaranteed hit with blue cheese lovers, this Gouda's creamy finish will also win over fans of mild-flavored cheeses. Price: $9.99/lb

“We were so impressed with the quality of Bastiaansen's cheeses that we committed to purchase nearly all of the fluid milk available in Holland to produce enough for all of our 120-plus stores,” says Cathy Strange, national cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market. “In addition, the company's dedication to organic production mirrors our commitment to supply the best organic products to our customers.”

Milk used in Bastiaansen's cheese-making process comes from herds that roam in open fields and graze on grass that is untainted by fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals; they receive no growth hormones or preventive antibiotics, creating what Bastiaansen calls “the purest form of milk available.” The company's founder was the first organic cheesemaker in Holland and today Bastiaansen makes only organic cheese, encouraging and helping local farmers convert their milk production to organic.

“We're excited to offer these organic cheeses from their country of origin at a similar price as conventional, domestic Gouda,” says Strange. “It's really a 'win' for everyone, as people can try a fantastic product that supports a more sustainable production method at essentially the same price as the domestic, conventional equivalent.”

Whole Foods Market stores boast an impressive cheese selection with domestic and imported varieties of the highest quality. The cheese department's knowledgeable team members can make recommendations, offer pairing advice and provide samples to customers.

Editor's Note: Interviews are available with

Cathy Strange, National Cheese Buyer for Whole Foods Market

. Strange joined Whole Foods Market in 1990 and now searches the world for cheese made of the highest quality ingredients. She is a member of the American Cheese Society, the Cheese of Choice Coalition and the Cheese Importers Association. Most recently, she spearheaded efforts to bring four varieties of organic Gouda to Whole Foods Market stores in an exclusive agreement with Holland-based Bastiaansen.