Grand Trunk: Savour the aroma and flavour of the Swiss Alps

Grand Trunk wheel and wedge

Try and buy Grand Trunk and other award-winning cheeses from Stonetown Artisan Cheese at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto on June 6.

Grand Trunk is a best-seller for good reason: It tastes great, it really does!

Grand Trunk, the most popular cheese made by Stonetown Artisan Cheese in St. Marys, Ontario, is named after the historic railway bridge of the former Grand Trunk Railway in St. Marys.

On the outside of the cheese, the rind does have an old rustic look, just like the historic bridge.

But cut open a wheel and inhale the aroma. You’re immediately transported to the Swiss Alps where the fragrance of alpine meadows fills the air, mingling with a robust aroma of dairy.

Place a piece in your mouth and let it melt. It’s so rich and creamy, so packed with layers of flavour, with a nice balance of salt.

Grand Trunk is aged six to nine months and more. The older the better the taste, we say.

That’s award-winning Grand Trunk, the pride of cheesemakers Jolanda and Hans Weber who came to Canada in 1996 from their native Switzerland, with three children in tow, to begin a new life in St. Marys on their own dairy farm.

“Having previously worked in the Swiss Alps, it was always our dream to produce delicious, high quality cheese reminiscent of the renowned Swiss mountains and made from our own milk,” the Webers explain. “With a profound commitment to creating cheese of the highest quality, and the support of our family, as well as Ramon Eberle, a Master Cheesemaker from Switzerland, our humble dream became a reality.”

Fresh milk comes from 250 Holstein cows—who sleep on beach sand all year round. Two sons, together with their families, look after the cows while Jolanda and Hans handcraft the farmstead cheese: “In order to obtain a great taste, the milk is unpasteurized and has no additives. This ensures the cheese is pure and natural.”

The milk is thermized, which means its heated to reduce spoilage bacteria with minimum collateral heat damage to milk components. Artisan cheesemakers prefer thermization to pasteurization as the former does not cause changes in flavour.

The taste of place is definitely the Swiss Alps, although the cheese is made in Southwestern Ontario.

You’ll have a chance to meet Jolanda and Hans and sample their delicious cheese at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market at historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall in Toronto on June 6.

“We will bring our award-winning cheeses like Wildwood, Homecoming, Farmstead Fontina, Farmstead Emmental and, of course, our most famous cheese, our Grand Trunk. We also make some goat milk cheeses and we will bring our Amazing Grey. The recipe for Amazing Grey is the same as for the Grand Trunk but with goat milk.”

Grand Trunk, which is aged six to nine months, was crowned Grand Champion in Specialty Cheese at the 2018 British Empire Cheese Competition.

Jolanda and Hans Weber with Master Cheesemaker Ramon Eberle.

Grand Trunk tastes excellent in sandwiches or just on a cheese platter with fruits, dried meat and rustic bread. It is a great cheese for fondue or grilled cheese sandwiches. Due to its unique flavor, the cheese pairs well with both red and white wines.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman of Canadian Cheese Awards and director of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. He’s hardly ever met a cheese he didn’t like.

Le Pizy: Truly outstanding Québec farmstead cheese

Le Pizy: Outstanding farmstead cheese from Fromagerie La Suisse Normande.

We’ll go for months without Pizy, and then, when we taste it again, we fall in love all over again.

There is no question Le Pizy, created by Cheesemaker Fabienne Mathieu at Fromagerie La Suisse Normande in St.-Roch-de-L’Achigan, Québec, is one of Canada’s best farmstead cheeses. When it comes to aroma, flavour and texture, Pizy is simply outstanding, and pretty in appearance, too.

We were first introduced to Pizy while spending too much money on cheese one afternoon years ago at Marché Jean Talon in Montréal in the company of Vanessa Simmons, arguably Canada’s leading cheese sommelier.

Try and buy Le Pizy at the upcoming Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto.

Vanessa’s tasting notes tell all:

Pizy has and remains one of my favourite top 10 Canadian cheeses, for sure. It’s even better if you keep it past the best-before date on the package by at least a week or two or more.

The cheese has more yeasty notes when it’s young which develops into more of a mushroomy, slightly nutty flavour as it ages. It’s very pretty, with the most delicate hue of champagne.

This small, soft, surface-ripened pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is fashioned after the Swiss Tomme Vaudoise, due to its shape (small wheel) and size (only ½-inch thick). Le Pizy has a thick bloomy ivory rind, with a rich, dense, paste coloring between ivory and pearl. Experience big milky, fresh field mushroom aromas and a fresh lactic taste with a sweet tang when it’s young, softening out as it ages.

The hand-crafted cheese produced at Fromagerie La Suisse Normande represents the marriage of two cultures, Swiss and French. Cheesemaker Fabienne Mathieu comes from Switzerland, husband Frédérick Guitel who manages the farm comes from Normandy in France.

Their resulting cow, goat and sheep’s milk products are a marriage made in heaven. Cheeses are made from animals raised on the farm, in true “fermier” (farmstead) fashion.

Meet the Suisse Normande family, left to right : Fabienne (mother), Magaly, Bénédicte (both daughters work at the fromagerie), Freddy (father) and Thibaut (son who works at the farm).

Of their five children, three want to ensure the continuity of their parents’ work: Bénédicte and Magaly at the fromagerie and Thibault on the farm.

The fromagerie began its activities in 1995 on the farm 50 kilometres north of Montréal.

Fromagerie La Suisse Normande will be represented by Plaisirs Gourmets at Canada’s Artisan Cheese Night Market on June 6 in historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall in Toronto.

 —Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheesehead-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is chairman of Canadian Cheese Awards and director of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. He’s hardly ever met a cheese he didn’t like.

Artisan Cheese Night Market returns to Toronto on June 6

TICKETS ARE SELLING QUICKLY, SO DON’T DELAY ORDERING YOURS!

Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market is a unique sampling show where you try before you buy, located in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market Complex, one day only, Thursday, June 6.

  • Try and buy the best artisan and farmstead cheeses in Canada
  • Meet cheesemakers from coast to coast
  • Try and buy artisan foods, charcuterie, chocolate and more
  • Sample Ontario wine, craft beer and cider, and spirits
  • Purchase and enjoy tasty eats from specialty food vendors
  • Live entertainment will keep the celebration going all night long.

Order your tickets right away as the event is sure to sell out!

To avoid overcrowding, the Night Market runs in three three-hour sessions, 12 noon to 3:00 p.m., 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Strictly 19+.

Admission to the Early-Bird Session 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. is $30.00 per person. Regular admission is $40.00 per person for Session 2 or Session 3. Click on the Eventbrite button to begin your order.

Eventbrite - Canada's Artisan Cheese Night Market 2019

 

 

Many of Quebec’s outstanding cheesemakers will be represented at this year’s Artisan Cheese Night Market in Toronto, appearing under the Amour & Tradition umbrella of Fromages CDA, a leading distributor of fine cheeses.

Your ticket covers sampling of award-winning Canadian cheese, charcuterie, chocolate,  artisan foods, olive oil, plus Ontario wine, craft beer and cider, and spirits. That’s correct, sampling is included in the price of admission. PLUS: Also included is an insulated souvenir tote bag for your purchases.

Order tickets in advance online, avoid having to line up to buy a ticket at the event and quickly access all the deliciousness via the Night Market’s Express Entrance.

Click here for information on attending as a group, having more fun and saving money!

Stonetown Artisan Cheese of St. Mary’s, Ontario, will be sampling and selling its many delicious cheeses inspired by centuries of cheesemaking in Switzerland.

HOW TO GET TO ST. LAWRENCE MARKET

For the Artisan Cheese Night Market, historic St. Lawrence Market’s Temporary North Hall at 125 The Esplanade will transform into a celebration of the best in Canadian cheese and other deliciousness.

Using public transit to get to St. Lawrence Market is a snap. Union Station, with GO, Via Rail and TTC subway stops, is an 11-minute walk. The Yonge subway stop at King is a 12-minute walk. The Market is mere minutes from TTC streetcar stops at Jarvis on the King and Queen lines. There also is a Jarvis bus that stops steps from the Market.

Taxi and Uber will get you there even quicker.

If you’re coming by car, designate a driver for a safe trip home as there will sampling of alcoholic beverages at the Night Market, if you’re so inclined. There will also be a cash bar.

In its debut in 2018, Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market was a sell-out success—and a huge hit with cheese lovers.

If you’re driving, best place to park is the Green P parking garage with entrances at south end of Church Street and south end of Market Street:

Carpark 43 ~ St. Lawrence Garage ~ 2 Church Street
Also enter from Market Street just south of St. Lawrence Market
Rate: $2.50 / Half Hour
Capacity: 2,008 spaces (Yes, 2,008!)
Payment Options: Auto Express Pay Stations, Credit Card at Entry & Exit, Customer Assistance Booth
Accepted Forms of Payment: Bills, Coins, Charge (Visa / Mastercard / American Express Only)

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS

Available at all price levels within walking distance of St. Lawrence Market.

WHO WE ARE

Canada’s only Artisan Cheese Night Market is produced by Cheese Lover Productions Inc. which also produces Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. In 2018, Artisan Cheese Night Market was first held in conjunction with Canadian Cheese Awards. Given the enthusiastic response from cheese lovers, the Night Market returns in 2019 as a stand-alone event.

Eventbrite - Canada's Artisan Cheese Night Market 2019

 

Best Bites: Ten most memorable Canadian cheeses of 2018

It’s time to bring the curtain down on another year and to recall the memorable Canadian cheese tasted during 2018—with the help of friends in fromage.

Plus an outstanding butter, one of several grass-fed butters that have appeared on the market this year.

Vanessa Simmons, cheese sommelier at Savvy Company and Savvy Cool Curds, the first artisan cheese-of-the-month club featuring hard-to-come-by cheese made across Canada, selected five very different cheeses:

Hatley Road – Fromagerie La Station, Compton, Québec

Hatley has been showing beautifully in 2018 on cheeseboards as a rich, full flavour washed-rind cheese made with organic farmstead milk. A blend of milky, fruity and nutty flavours balanced with salt. As far as award winners go, it’s not hard to see why!

Fleuron – Fromagerie de la Table Ronde, Sainte-Sophie, Québec

A natural, rustic, salt and pepper looking rind covers this elegant, tall column-shaped organic cow’s milk blue cheese. Inside hides a soft, often oozy, pale ivory paste with slate-grey veining, concentrated closer to the centre of the cheese. Earthy, woody and fungal aromas blend nicely with vegetal, creamy and slight salty flavours, making it the perfect mid-range blue for tasting pleasure.

Figaro – Glengarry Fine Cheese, Lancaster, Ontario

Ever since I started in the Canadian cheese industry, Figaro has made and remained on my Top 10 list.  Yeasty and rich, lactic, full of creamy, tangy flavour, it’s always a crowd-pleaser, disappearing in minutes!

Cranberry Chèvre – Mariposa Dairy, Lindsay, Ontario 

Cranberry Chèvre is nothing short of “wow” as a perfect blend of both sweet and savoury flavours where fruity goodness meets tarty tang rounded off by the mild spicy hint of cinnamon. As a final step in making the cheese, plump cranberries are hand-rolled onto the fresh chèvre logs to ensure full coverage and less damage to the fruit—guaranteeing a gorgeous display for your holiday cheese board.

Maggie’s Cheese Ball – Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères, Saint-Sixte, Québec

This holiday treasure is only available locally, and seasonally at Christmas time—made with love by Maggie Paradis. A blend of her local cow, goat and sheep milk cheeses, it’s a savoury sensation rolled in crushed pecans, rich and velvety in texture and sharp with a mild onion flavour.

Here are two picks from Jackie Armet, cheese co-ordinator at Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival:

Grey Owl – Fromagerie Le Détour, Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, Québec

At every meeting of the Awards and Cheese Festival organizing committee, I’m asked to bring a selection of Canadian cheeses for us to graze on while planning our cheese events. One cheese that stopped the discussion was Grey Owl. It was in perfect condition, with its beautiful contrast in paste and rind, and a dazzling flavour of lemon and tang in your month. It took us 20 minutes to get back to our meeting. It is cheese that always starts a conversation.

Mountainoak Farmstead 2-year Aged Gouda – Mountainoak Cheese, New Hamburg, Ontario

Everyone needs a go-to cheese. With a texture like parmesan, the subtle crunch, quality milk and consistency, you can’t help snacking on this cheese. Well done, Mountainoak!

For Janice Beaton of Janice Beaton Cheese Partners, there is only a single highlight:

Big Momma – Monforte Dairy, Stratford, Ontario

Hands down for me this year’s Best Bite was Big Momma, from Ruth Khlasen and Monforte Dairy. It blew me away. Perhaps I had the good fortune of tasting from a sublime piece—lucky me! The combination of pillowy, creamy smooth texture and the outstanding flavour of water buffalo milk, it t was all sweetness and light. With a good measure of enduring flavour underpinning the whole experience: gently lactic and subtly earthy. Wowza! It’s been a while since I’ve been transported when cheese hits my palate. Big Momma took me there!

Whenever we visit La Belle Province, we seek out outstanding cheese that we cannot find in Ontario, fromage that is provincially licensed and thus not available outside Québec. At Yannick Fromagerie, in the Vieux Limoilou neighbourhood of Québec City, Nathalie Filion, introduced us to one such cheese:

Kénogami – Fromagerie Lehmann, Hébertville, Québec

Kénogami, a soft washed-rind beauty made by Fromagerie Lehmann with thermized milk from Brown Swiss cows in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. It presents a wonderful soft, herbal aroma and tastes of cream, butter and nut.

The Lehmann family is very conscientious about the care they provide both to their animals and to their pasture. The farm uses no GMOs, no pesticides and no chemical fertilizer. They rely on a variety of wild plants to feed the small herd in the summer and in the winter they feed them hay and grain produced on the farm.

Curé-Hébert – Fromagerie l’Autre Versant, Hébertville, Québec

There is something special about the climate and the soil in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region as the final outstanding cheese of the 2018 Top 10 comes from a fromagerie a few kilometres from Fromagerie Lehmann.

Curé-Hébert is semi-soft, washed-rind farm cheese made with raw milk drawn from the Fromagerie l’Autre Versant’s herd of Ayrshire cows. Its orange-brown rind is partially covered by a fluffy white coat. Curé-Hébert features a mild aroma of cream, butter, mushroom and a hint of sweetness (honey or caramel). It tastes very slightly rustic and sweet.

Andy Shay, a long-time friend in fromage who recently moved from Sobeys Ontario to oversee cheese and charcuterie at Jan K Overweel Ltd., threw us a curve, albeit a welcome one:

Can-Dairy founders Mitch Yurkiw and Drew McIver.

Actually, mine is not cheese, but butter, and a tiny amount of cheese. Emerald Grasslands sets a new benchmark in the fast-growing Canadian butter category. Clarksburg-based Can-Dairy founders Mitch Yurkiw and Drew McIver are trying to make the world a better place, one delicious pat of butter at a time!

They contract milk only with Jersey cow farmers, known for their extra thick and yellow cream. But these are not just ordinary Jersey cows, they are certified grass fed on regenerative (sustainable) organic farms. With this amazing milk, Emerald Grasslands churns, a more gentle process on the fat structure, the butter and produces 84% MF butter—perfect for baking pastries.  For their salted version they sourced hand-harvested sea salt from Vancouver Island Salt Company, near Courtenay, British Columbia.

The result of all this care in sourcing and production is a mind-blowing, super-creamy butter that is rich and with floral notes, a rusticity of cows and just the right hint of salt. Truly. the way to make the most of an artisan crusty bread.  We rarely have a chance to taste the wonders of Echire or Isigny St. Mere, but now, maybe that is OK.

Rich and Drew are next using some of their milk for making Cheddar. I had the chance to taste an early prototype and as a guy who buys Iles aux Grues 2-year cheddar by the 40 lb block, I can tell you we should all hope to see this cheese in a store one day soon!

—Georgs Kolesnikovs, cheese-head-in-chief at CheeseLover.ca, is the founder of Canadian Cheese Awards and The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.

Louis d’Or: Canadian Cheese of the Year 2018

Louis d’Or, made by Jean Morin of Fromagerie Presbytere, is the 2018 Cheese of the Year.

Louis d’Or, an outstanding Alpine-style cheese made by Jean Morin of Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, Québec, was named the 2018 Cheese of the Year in the biennial Canadian Cheese Awards, the biggest cheese judging and competition in the country.

The 2018 Canadian Cheese Awards program, which started at University of Guelph, Food Science Department, with the judging of 375 submitted cheeses in late February, culminated June 6 with a presentation ceremony and tasting gala at historic St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.

Loblaw Companies is Marque Sponsor of Awards while Dairy Farmers of Canada is Principal Partner, Cow Milk Cheese.

Complete list of winners by categories:

CHEESE OF THE YEAR/FROMAGE D’EXCEPTION

BEST FRESH CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE FRAIS

BEST FRESH PASTA FILATA CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À PÂTE FILÉE

 BEST SEMI-SOFT CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À PÂTE  SEMI-FILÉE

BEST FETA/CHEESE IN BRINE/MEILLEUR FETA/FROMAGE EN SAUMURE

  • Krinos Traditional Feta – Krinos, Vaughan, Ontario

BEST FETA/CHEESE IN BRINE/MEILLEUR FETA/FROMAGE EN SAUMURE

—Private Brands Division—

BEST FIRM CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À PÂTE FERME

BEST FIRM CHEESE WITH HOLES (Swiss-style)/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À PÂTE FERME AVEC OUVERTURES

BEST WASHED RIND CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À CROÛTE LAVÉE

BEST MIXED RIND CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À CROÛTE MIXTE

BEST MIXED RIND CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À CROÛTE MIXTE

—Private Brands Division—

BEST BLOOMY RIND CHEESE/MEILLEUR PÂTE MOLLE À CROÛTE FLEURIE

BEST BLOOMY RIND CHEESE/MEILLEUR PÂTE MOLLE À CROÛTE FLEURIE

—Private Brands Division—

BEST LACTIC RIPENED CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE LACTIQUE À CROÛTE FLEURIE

BEST MILD & MEDIUM CHEDDAR (aged up to 9 months)/ MEILLEUR CHEDDAR DOUX & MOYEN (maximum de 9 mois d’affinage) 

BEST OLD CHEDDAR (aged from 9 to 18 months)/MEILLEUR CHEDDAR FORT (entre 9 et 18 mois d’affinage)

BEST AGED CHEDDAR (aged more than 18 months)/MEILLEUR CHEDDAR VIEILLI (plus de 18 mois d’affinage)

  • Cows Creamery 3 Year Old CheddarCows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

BEST GOUDA CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE GOUDA

BEST BLUE CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À PÂTE PERSILLÉE

BEST FLAVOURED CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE AROMATISÉ

BEST FLAVOURED FRESH CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE FRAIS AROMATISÉS

  • Chevrai Roasted Garlic Soft Fresh Goat Cheese – Woolwich Dairy, Orangeville, Ontario

BEST FLAVOURED FRESH CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE FRAIS AROMATISÉS

—Private Brands Division—

BEST SMOKED CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE FUMÉ

  • Appletree Smoked Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

BEST GRILLING CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE À GRILLER

  • Queso Fresco – Sabana, Oakville, Ontario

BEST COW’S MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE VACHE

  • Cows Creamery 3 Year Old Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

BEST GOAT’S MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE CHÈVRE

BEST SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE BREBIS

BEST WATER BUFFALO MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT DE BUFFLONNE

BEST BLENDED-MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT MIXTE

BEST FARMSTEAD CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE FERMIER

BEST ORGANIC CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE BIOLOGIQUE

BEST RAW-MILK CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LAIT CRU

BEST NEW CHEESE (Introduced to market during 2017) MEILLEUR NOUVEAU FROMAGE (Mis en marché en 2017)

BEST B.C. CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE LA COLOMBIE BRITANNIQUE

BEST WEST CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE L’OUEST (Alberta, Saskatchewan et Manitoba)

BEST ONTARIO CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DE L’ONTARIO

BEST QUEBEC CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DU QUÉBEC

BEST ATLANTIC CANADA CHEESE/MEILLEUR FROMAGE DES PROVINCES ATLANTIQUES

  • Cows Creamery 3 Year Old Cheddar – Cows Creamery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Biggest cheese competition in Canada

Judging by a jury of 14 cheese experts took place at University of Guelph, Department of Food Science, in February. A total of 117 finalists were selected from the 375 cheeses entered by producers from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

The 2018 Canadian Cheese of the Year and champions in 33 categories were announced at the Awards Ceremony on June 6 at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto followed by an Awards Tasting Gala. The next day, winners were featured at Canadian Cheese Expo for the trade followed by Canada’s first Artisan Cheese Night Market open to the public.

Fifty-six of the 117 nominations went to 22 Québec cheese producers led by Fromagerie La Station, 7 finalists, Laterie Charlevoix, 6, and Fromagerie du Presbystere, 5.

Sixty-one of the 117 nominations went to 23 producers in English-Canada, led by Cows, 12 finalists, Glengarry Fine Cheese, 5, and Amalgamated Dairies, Cross Wind Farm and Mountainoak Cheese, 4 each.

Canadian Cheese Awards is the only pan-Canadian cheese competition open to all milks used in cheesemaking—cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo—with only pure natural cheese accepted for judging. That means no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and no modified milk ingredients.

“We aim to honour and celebrate 100% pure natural cheese that has achieved technical excellence and exhibits the highest aesthetic qualities,” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Awards Chairman.

The biennial Canadian Cheese Awards is produced by Cheese Lover Productions with the support of Loblaw Companies as Marquee Sponsor and Dairy Farmers of Canada as Principal Partner, Cow Milk Cheese.

The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton, Ontario, is on hiatus in 2018 to allow resources to be devoted to the launch of Artisan Cheese Night Market and related events.

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar: Canadian Cheese of the Year 2016

Baluchon: Canadian Cheese of the Year 2014

A Very Dairy Christmas to one and all!

From our house to yours, all the best of Christmas! May much good Canadian cheese be with you in 2019!

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Thornloe in Northern Ontario makes Grand Champion butter

Second-generation dairy farmer Steve Runnulls shown in pasture with one of the Holstein cows on his farm in the heart of the Temiskaming Valley. Hard to believe that such lush green pastures can be found in Northern Ontario, some 500 kilometres north of Toronto.

It never ceases to amaze how far north in Ontario dairy farming and cheesemaking prosper. Now comes news that Thornloe Grass Fed Butter has received the Grand Champion Award in the butter division at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The taste is simply stunning. Once you’ve tasted Thornloe Grass Fed Butter, regular butter tastes flat.

Farmer-owned Thornloe Cheese near New Liskeard—some 500 km north of Toronto—introduced grass-fed butter products in salted and unsalted formats in the summer to meet the growing demand for grass-fed dairy products.

Grass-fed cheeses were introduced by Thornloe in 2017.

“The company has worked with local farmers who pasture cows when weather permits and feed a grass-based diet for the rest of the year to produce butter and cheeses with the health benefits derived from elevated levels of omega-3 associated with grass-fed diets,” says Thornloe Cheese general manager Rhonda Wood. “This is an incredible achievement for Thornloe, their farmer-owners, and the Northeastern Ontario farming region.“

In the Royal Winter competition, says Pamela Hamel, Thornloe brand ambassador, “butter is judged on flavour, texture, incorporation of moisture, color and salt or packaging. We believe our win in the Innovation Category, and our salted as a second in this class is a testament to the quality of the grass-fed feeding and farming standards developed by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. The high score in this category, enabled the butter to move to the top of all classes, earning the Grand Champion Award.”

“Happy cows, pasture-grazing in Northern Ontario, how can it not be good?”

Fourteen farms supply milk to Thornloe from the northeast region of Ontario, with project roots in Temiskaming, hence, the name of the butter, Temiskaming Valley Butter. The region is located 500 km north of Toronto, in the clay belt region known for its farming culture.

Thornloe Grass Fed Butter received the Grand Champion Award in the butter division at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Thornloe Grass Fed Butter and Cheeses are available through cheese shops, grocery stores and foodservice providers.

Thornloe Cheese Inc. is a wholly farmer-owned, artisanal cheese producer. It has earned several national awards and a reputation for quality cheese and creamery products for more than 75 years. Its most popular products include traditional cheddars, poutine curds, fine cheeses and the iconic blue cheese named Devil’s Rock.

Website: www.thornloecheese.ca

Thornloe is farmer owned, a subsidiary of EASTGEN, a farmer owned company located in the Guelph region.

In 2017, Thornloe won the Food in Canada community and industry leadership award for its role in the innovation and collaboration bringing to market Canada’s first verified grass-fed feed and pasturing standards.