Margaret Peters-Morris started making cheese commercially under the Glengarry Fine Cheese banner three years ago, but her involvement in cheesemaking across North America goes back almost two decades.
She’s making a name now as an award-winning cheesemaker in her own right but for many years, Margaret was—and still is—the go-to-source for lactic starters and ripening cultures for cheesemakers from California to Quebec. Legend has it that she never sold a culture to a cheese producer without first making the cheese herself in a makeshift make room in her garage.
Margaret Peters-Morris is native to the area. She was raised on the Peters family’s dairy farm where her mother, Johanna, taught Margaret cheesemaking at a young age. Her interest in dairy farming led her to McGill University in Montreal where she earned a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Food Science. After graduating, she enhanced her cheese knowledge by traveling and studying cheesemaking in Europe. All of that experience has culminated in the products of Glengarry Fine Cheese.
In 2008, the Glengarry creamery was built on a piece of the same land which was farmed by Margaret’s family. Much of the milk used comes from a heard of Holsteins on her brother’s dairy farm across the road from the plant. All of the cheeses are made at that single location ensuring consistent methods and high quality standards of production.
In just a few short years, Glengarry has developed and introduced 10 styles of cow’s milk cheeses and two goat’s milk cheeses.
Glengarry’s most popular cheese is the Lankaaster. The unique spelling of the name is a clever spin on the nearby town of Lancaster with an added European flair. The Lankaaster is a hard Gouda-style cheese that is shaped as a loaf to express the fact that it is meant to be sliced and eaten on bread as is the tradition of Dutch farmers. Glengarry offers three variations of the Lankaaster: infused with chives, Italian spice or cumin. This hard cheese is aged 2 to 4 months and is categorized as mild or medium.
For fans of soft cheese, Glengarry offers Figaro which is a soft bloomy-rind cheese that is made in the tradition of Chaource cheese from the Champagne region of France. It is aged 3 weeks and has a mild milky and fresh taste when young but the flavor intensifies when aged to 6 weeks.
For blue-cheese lovers, Glengarry has developed Celtic Blue which is a soft creamy blue cheese with delicate veining. The taste is mild and not aggressive and it has a pleasing buttery aroma.
The cow’s milk comes from two local herds at the family-owned VLN Farm and nearby Maple Lane Farm. To ensure quality, Margaret visits the farms on a weekly basis and sometimes assists in milking
If goat’s milk cheese is your thing, then you should try the Fromage fraise which is a goat’s milk cheese made from milk originating from the nearby Clarmell Farms.
The Glengarry family of cheeses have been well received and have earned top honours in cheese competitions. Most recently, in May of 2011, three of Glengarry’s cheeses are finalists in the seventh Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Lankaaster Traditional Gouda (semi-soft cheese category), Lankaaster Traditional Gouda Aged (firm cheese), and Celtic Blue (blue cheese). The final results of that competition will be announced in two weeks and the winners will be available for tasting in a special presentation at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival.
5926 County Road 34, Lancaster, Ontario K0C 1N0 Telephone 613.347.1141, 1.888.816.0903
At the plant, Glengarry operates a retail store open seven days a week. It also serves as an education and interpretation center. In addition to selling the cheeses made on the premises, the store offers maple syrups, jams and other specialty food items.
Glengarry Fine Cheese will be a participating cheesemaker at The Great Canadian Cheese Festival taking place June 4-5 at Crystal Palace in Picton, in the heart of Prince Edward County, Ontario’s fastest-growing culinary destination and Canada’s newest VQA wine region.
Drew Gall earned his way through university working on a dairy farm, studied dairy science, switched to forestry and ended up owning a specialty fabrication company. He indulges his true passion by blogging about cheese as the Canada Cheese Man.