Want to grow big enough

Soft cheese. Ice cream. Salami. Catering. The Kildahl family have many irons in the fire, but they don’t want to stop there. Now they want to increase production of soft cheese and ice cream.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Tom Christen Johannessen
Tom Christen Johannessen

Meat Technologist
Phone: +47 901 58 783
tom.chr.johannessen@nofima.no

If you drive through Løten on your way to Østerdalen, you might perhaps stop at Myklegard. You might visit the little stall beside the petrol station that sells local food products, such as hamburgers, cheese and ice cream. If so, you will have come to one of Ole Martin and Anita Kildahl’s most important sales outlets, because they own this little stall.

“We handle food production right from farm to table. That means we want to make maximum use of everything we produce. The whey from cheese production goes to make ice cream and we make ham from our own pigs on the farm. The excess meat goes to make hamburgers. And we offer much of this as outside catering,” explains Ole Martin Kildahl.

The networks are here to stay

Kildahl is one of the many small scale producers in Norway that have realised how many opportunities there are for building up expertise in many fields involved in the production of food. The last course Kildahl took part in was organised by the competence network for small scale food producers, which is part of VSP, the Value Creation Programme for Food. The course was about developing systems to ensure safe food for the consumer. The method is called HACCP. Several companies in Hedmark took part in the course and they have since met again to continue the discussions. It was Kildahl that took the initiative. Berit Foss Hille, adviser on safe food at Nofima, is pleased to see that network and course participants maintain contact with each other.

“This is an example for others to follow and for those of us who act as advisers to companies, it is exactly what we want to see. The purpose of the networks is for the companies to find new colleagues with whom they can share problems and get activities into action. This is our proof that the networks are functioning as intended,” says Berit Foss Hille.

Checking with Tom

“I get so much benefit from meeting other people who are doing the same as me. I also value all the help and know-how it’s possible to obtain from the centres of expertise represented by people like Nofima,” says Kildahl. Tom Chr. Johannessen, Meat Technologist at Nofima Mat and an expert in sausage production, has been to visit the farmer from Hedmark several times. They have made trial batches of hamburgers and sausages in the production area. “If I come across a course or a network that might be of interest, I get on the phone to Tom and ask ‘Is this anything for us?’” smiles Kildahl.

More soft cheese and ice cream

Now the family wants to increase production of soft cheese and ice cream. Ole Martin’s parents started making soft cheese as an additional source of income 30 years ago. Their cheese soon became popular and is now one of the farm’s main products. The ice cream is made using the whey from cheese production. Ole Martin and Anita Kildahl want to make maximum use of their capacity for these popular products, so they are considering seeking finance to enable them to extend production.

“It may well be that we have too many irons in the fire, but we thrive on variety and we love our work,” he continues, between answering the telephone and making food. His philosophy is to always be available. So the telephone never rings for long before he answers it.

Have become known for catering

The Bakken Øvre company has many irons in the fire. It has pigs and cattle. On the farm there are separate production areas for meat products and for cheese and ice cream. Hams are air-dried in another building. 25% of the income is from sales in the little stall in Myklegard. Ole Martin Kildahl is never happier than when he is selling his products on market days in Hedmark and Oppland or at the farmers’ market in Oslo. He is proud of his products and he is happy for people to tell him what they think about the taste – face to face. However Ole Martin spends most of his time in the farm’s own outside catering centre, which contains all the equipment needed to be able to supply food to several hundred people. The Kildahl family employs the equivalent of 10 full time jobs, but many of these are seasonal workers, who help in the barn or in catering activities during busy periods.

If you have never visited the Kildahl family’s little stall in Myklegard, why not take the opportunity the next time you are passing.

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