steenhoek-cheesemakers-inn-pella-iowaBuilt around 1918, this craftsman style farmhouse was originally the heart of a 330-acre farm on the southwest edge of Pella owned by the Vander Linden family.  Following the Great Depression, the farmstead was purchased by Rich & Regina Steenhoek as they started their family of four children.

Kathy (Steenhoek) Bandstra, one of four Steenhoek siblings, was raised in this home and returned after marriage to raise her own family here.  Together with their four children, Ron and Kathy Bandstra milked Holstein cows, farmed acres of grain and hay fields, shared the joys and sorrows of life, gathered for hearty meals, and prayed together.

Unfortunately, the Farm Crisis of the 1980s forced the family farm to dissolve, and compounded by the encroachment of the City of Pella and developers, the farm historic-farmstead-cheesemakers-inn-pella-iowawas parceled off to become the municipal airport, soccer fields, parts of the Bos Landen Golf Course community and several residential homes.

The original dairy barn seen in this aerial photo is now a separate residential property adjacent to the inn and a guest parking lot replaces the granary structures shown between them.

In 2003, after their children were grown, Ron and Kathy realized their dream home by elaborately renovating their farmhouse as de Boederij Bed and Breakfast—”the Home Place” in Dutch.  Sadly, however, Kathy passed away shortly thereafter.  Friends and family members continued to operate the bed and breakfast, and Ron continued to live in his family home. 

In 2007, Ron’s sons, Jason and Mike, revived the family dairy farming tradition by establishing a new dairy operation on Jason’s farm near Leighton.  As innovative entrepreneurs, their families successfully combined their family’s Dutch heritage and their Holstein dairy tradition to produce a new and authentically Dutch product: Frisian Farms Gouda cheese.  Named after the northern province of Friesland in The Netherlands, Frisian Farms Cheese Company became Iowa’s only farmstead cheese producer.

In 2010, under the management of Jason and his wife Valerie, the bed and breakfast was rechristened as The Cheesemaker’s Inn to highlight the new cheesemaking venture.  It remained a luxurious place to stay and dine, as they shared their passion for excellent food and memories of meals together around the table.

In 2013, Ron’s youngest brother, Rob, his wife, Kim, and their daughters returned to Pella after a career in the US Air Force to make the inn their “home place” and to continue the legacies so richly established in this home.