organic "Tomme"-cheese from the Basque Country
GAEC Arrokiaia
Outside of the adoption period

The project

Adopt a cow of our flock "GAEC Arrokiaia" in Ahaxe/Ahatsa (France) and receive your harvest in the form of organic "Tomme"-cheese from the Basque Country at home. The Farmer Xabi will take care of your adoption and take its picture. Also, you will be able to download the adoption certificate and, if you wish, plan your visit to the farm. As the production coming from one cow is big, the adoption is shared among various people. If you wish to have a bigger share, you may adopt more than once. You do not enter into any long-term commitment: once you receive your harvest and you enjoyed the experience, you may decide to renew and extend the adoption.

The project

Adopt a cow of our flock "GAEC Arrokiaia" in Ahaxe/Ahatsa (France) and receive your harvest in the form of organic "Tomme"-cheese from the Basque Country at home. The Farmer Xabi will take care of your adoption and take its picture. Also, you will be able to download the adoption certificate and, if you wish, plan your visit to the farm. As the production coming from one cow is big, the adoption is shared among various people. If you wish to have a bigger share, you may adopt more than once. You do not enter into any long-term commitment: once you receive your harvest and you enjoyed the experience, you may decide to renew and extend the adoption.

What do you adopt?
Adopt a cow that we take care of following the Organic Farming regulations of the European Union since 2014. Adopt one of these three cows on Ferme Arrokiaia: Cravate, Erdizka or Havana. These Montbéliarde cows are grass fed, which ensures high quality products. These cows are known for their full-fat and good quality milk used for cheese production. The Montbéliarde breed are mountain cows who adapt very well to our region. The cheese that we produce from their milk has different certifications, such as the Organic label and the Idoki charter. At Arrokiaia farm, we joined this farmer’s charter which helps ensuring work for the smallest farms in the Basque Country. This charter englobes many rules with the purpose of guaranteeing quality and local production, and livestock breeding which follows norms. Arrokiaia is considered a medium size farm in the Basque Country. It is formed of about 30 ha of mainly meadows. There is also a small meadow used to grow corn for animal feed. The farmer Xabi Harlouchet has his cows roaming free as often as possible, hence the cows are usually grazing and thus feed from the grass in the meadows that he owns. The animals’ average age is currently 8 years old, and the cows’ productive life is about 13 years. After that, they are sold as “cull cows”. Male calves are usually sold and females are kept on the farm for milk production. The productive life of a cow is around 13 years. For as long as you want to keep it and we can continue taking care of it, you can renew your adoption year after year. If your cow dies, we will replace it with no additional cost and assuring the delivery of your production from other animals. Each cow is adopted by 250 CrowdFarmers who receive a box with 2.5 kg of organic "Tomme"-cheese from the Basque Country.
What will you receive?
Each season we will send you a box with: 1 x __Tomme Basque from organic cow’s milk__ (2,5 kilo/tomme) This traditional cheese is typically made from sheep’s milk, but today we elaborate it with organic cow’s milk. This cheese has a delicate taste and aroma while revealing all the characteristics of a Tomme with natural crust which has been aged for 3 months. It preserves very well refrigerated, but we advise to put it at room temperature at least one hour before consuming it. It can be preserved several months before being opened and weeks after opening it.
When will you receive it?
Please, check the deadline for participating in this project (deadline for adoption) below. As of this date the Farmer will start preparing the orders that are to be shipped. You may select the delivery date of your box as suggested by the Farmer at check-out. The harvest is planned for the end of September since we produce the cheese with the milk from the end of spring.
Why should you adopt?
* Learn who produces your food, how and where. Receive your food in a conscious manner. * Buy directly from the farmer. Help to generate wealth and better jobs in the rural areas. * Plan ahead and enable the Farmer to produce on demand. This way we can avoid overproduction and fight food waste. * Reward Farmers who make an effort to use environmentally-friendly packaging and cultivation techniques.
Plastic-free
Organic
Family Farm

How does it work?

Meet the Farmers

Meet the Farmers

Adopt and plan your harvest

Adopt and plan your harvest

Let the Farmer and nature work

Let the Farmer and nature work

Receive your harvest at home

Receive your harvest at home

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Environmentalist
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Pesticide-free
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Plastic-free
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Organic
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Young Farmer
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Small Farm
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Family Farm
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Visitors welcome
Xabi Harlouchet
In 2012, my little brother Johan Harlouchet and myself decided to take over the family farm. We are both children of the Basque Country and are passionate about our work and our region. We chose to innovate the family farm that belonged to our father by changing the cow breed, the farming methods, and above all, by transforming the milk we produce into cheese. We decided to convert the farm to organic because we are very close to the earth and we wish to protect it as well as protecting our animals! Arrokiaia farm is located in Ahaxe, in the heart of the Basque Country, where we practice an organic and rustic agriculture which is respectful of the earth and the livestock. My brother and I specialized in dairy cows breeding in order to produce organic, natural and high quality dairy products. On a daily basis, we share between us the tasks of milking, feeding and caring for the animals, as well as all the field work and ultimately the elaboration and sale of the cheese. This way, we are able to combine professional and personal life. We are very proud of our work, of our farm, of our cows and of our working conditions. It is a passion that we would not exchange for anything in the world, a passion that can be found in each litre of milk. Through our products, we reconnect people with the traditions, authenticity and true flavour of food, and with the uncomparable taste of Basque products. Through CrowdFarming, we hope to convey these authentic values of solidarity and collectivism which are part of our work.
Xabi Harlouchet

“Our values and our project are the development of a peasant agriculture which is respectul of the environment and of the workers, and which persists from generation to generation in order to provide healthy food for women, men and their descendents, while preserving the earth that we inherited. As you may have understood, by adopting one of our cows, you will receive a product but you will also adopt our values. Through this adoption, we wish to convey these values of sharing, local production and respect towards our livestock.”

GAEC Arrokiaia
GAEC Arrokiaia
Arrokiaia farm was passed from generation to generation and is located in Ahaxe, at the foot of Iraty forest and mountains, and at the heart of the Basque Country’s inland countryside. We are Xabi and Johan and we took over the farm after our father passed away. We converted the production from conventional agriculture to organic farming, and we replaced the Holstein breed previously used with the Montbéliarde cow who adapt well to the hills of the Basque Country. This production method is even more aligned with our values. The main criteria evaluated to be certified organic are the following: * We do not use synthetic pesticides, fertilizers nor GMO * We seek animal well-being * We thoroughly work to preserve quality of the soil * We do not use drugs to treat the animals, but rather essential oils Sharing resources is an essential value of the IDOKI farming charter. Drawing inspiration from the values of small farming, the practises that eventually contribute to the taste of the final product are highlighted in this charter of commitment. 1. Respect of the production norms 2. Small livestock herding in open air 3. Breed origins must be local or managed rustically 4. Animals must be grazing and the feed must be sourced locally whenever possible. No GMO nor additive is authorised [a1] We own 20 dairy cows, essentially Montbéliardes and a few Prim’Holsteins left from our father’s time, bred in the best possible conditions. They are outdoors as often as possible, grazing around the 26 hectares of meadows of our farm. To ensure the well-being of the cows and the quality of their products, they feed from fresh greenery or are fed with dried grass which is harvested on our exploitation and dried in the barn. Using the Montbéliarde breed, known for her rich and good quality milk, together with the natural grass based nutrition and frequent outdoor exposure that we provide, certify the quality of the organic products that we produce. The 30 ha farm is composed of 90% of meadows and some of them are more than 50 years old. We grow corn on some of them, which is used to feed animals. This method of farming avoids having to source feed from outside the farm and allows us to better control the nutrition of our cows. We only rely on rain water to irrigate our crops. It is true that in the Basque Country, we are blessed with abundant rains. We invested in a hay dryer that allows us to obtain a feed that is particularly rich in nutrients, which in turn helps us obtaining a milk of excellent quality. Part of the milk that we produce is transformed into cheeses of 20 kilos, and the rest is sold to the Dairy Cooperative of the Basque Country, with which we collaborate since its creation in 1970. This cooperative transforms part of our organic milk in Basque Tomme cheeses of 2,5 kilos that we are offering you through this project. Our cheeses are elaborated in this dairy by curdling the milk in a vat, then pressing the curds and letting the cheese ripen for over 3 months. We are two brothers working on our exploitation but the cooperative employs 30 people. The number of people with disability we employ is over the minimum requirement from the French administration. Employees are paid according to the collective agreement’s convention. All the cooperators share values of authenticity and quality of the milk that we produce in the valley and of traditional livestock breeding.
Technical information
Address
GAEC Arrokiaia, Ahaxe/Ahatsa, FR
Altitude
150m
Team
2 men
Size
28 Ha
Flock size
20
Location