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From Cow to Cone in Less Than a Day

For five generations, the Brandsma family has been a “cow first” kind of dairy farm with the belief that well-cared-for cows make the best milk. Between the high-quality feed, and soaring views of the Canadian Cascades and Mount Baker, you have to wonder if contented cows produce a better product—like Edaleen Dairy’s ice cream.

The Lynden property fulfills the nostalgic dairy farm image we all have in our heads: rolling green hills, barns framed by mountains, and lots of happy cows. Except here it’s reality. This five-generation farm floods visitors with its sense of family so much that warmth radiates through the dairy’s office walls. The renovated farmhouse boasts years of family history. What now houses the reception desk, office and lobby area was once the family’s kitchen and living space. Today, Ed and Aileen’s daughter, Karen Moorlag, calls her childhood bedroom her office, which is still decorated with her childhood wallpaper.

While Lynden locals Ed and Aileen Brandsma were born into the milk business, it was their desire to create that drove them into the ice cream business in 1975. “Milk is milk. With ice cream you can be creative. I think they had a desire to make the business fun,” said Mitch Moorlag, Karen’s husband, and son-in-law to Ed and Aileen. Mitch is general manager at Edaleen Dairy. Ed and Aileen combined their names to create Edaleen Dairy, opened their first store on the same Lynden farm property, and started production on-site. During the same year, Ed and Aileen started their own milk production on-site too, something that was unheard of in a time when most dairy farmers shipped their raw product to big names like Darigold, sales manager Dave Dodson said. The quaint family farm had become revolutionary.

In addition to their more than 100 employees, the farm is home to about 1,700 milking cows. Each of those 1,700 cows is milked for 10 minutes, three times a day. Freshness resonates in the nearly 43 flavors Edaleen produces. “The milk that is in our cow this morning is in the freezer [as ice cream] by 7 a.m. the next morning. We go from cow to ice cream almost always in less than 24 hours,” Dodson says.

With the help of their popular ice cream, Edaleen has continued to grow, now operating dairy stores in Sumas, Ferndale, Blaine, and downtown Lynden, in addition to their on-site store. The stores carry Edaleen Dairy milk (chocolate, strawberry, and plain), half and half, buttermilk, heavy cream, and fresh ice cream, both hard and soft serve on made-to-order cones, as well as in packaged ice cream tubs. Visitors can purchase a fresh scoop of hard ice cream for just $2.50 or go the soft-serve route for between $1.75 to $2.50, depending on size, making it truly affordable for anyone to treat themselves. The ice cream often features local ingredients like berries straight from Whatcom County, and can also be found at local places like WinCo Foods and Safeway stores, in addition to the company’s own five shops.

Edaleen’s small-batch flavors range from popular classics like vanilla and mint chocolate chip to seasonal favorites like eggnog and pumpkin. In order to create new flavors, the company caters to the taste buds of its customers, Dodson says. “Ice cream tastes are really personal. There’s no right or wrong–they are all good.”


Fun Facts

Edaleen’s Best-Selling Flavor
Vanilla

Flavor that Flopped
Passion Fruit

Hardest to Make
Coffee Almond Fudge

Who Knew?
Edaleen Dairy powers all its operations (farm and store) with methane gas from its cow manure. Their cows are so prolific that the company has energy left over to sell to Puget Sound Energy.

Writer Kate Fun Fact
My first job was scooping ice cream at the local Baskin Robbins in my home town of Woodinville. You could say I was popular as a result.

9593 Guide Meridian Rd., Lynden
360.354.5342 | edaleendairy.com

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"'Milk is milk. With ice cream you can be creative. I think they had a desire to make the business fun.'"