Cheese production is close to 400,000 tonnes a year in Canada, a little over half being specialty cheeses. Ontario accounts for about 30 per cent of the country’s total cheese production.
Over the past 100 years, more than 80 cheese factories have dotted our countryside. We even became trademarked as the "Cheese Capital of Canada" which is still in place today. But over time, manufacturing techniques changed, reducing the perceived need for artisanal cheese products.
Interest in small-scale cheese-making is beginning to make a comeback in Hastings County. There is a re-affirmed commitment to local food, a newfound respect for local environments, and consumer-led desire for the creation and consumption of nutritious foods.
Hastings County has almost everything needed to take the next step in the artisanal cheese-making process: milk suppliers, experienced and aspiring cheese makers, willing mentors and advisors, eager retailers and customers. Now it’s time to put the pieces together, add some capital investment, and let the cheese making begin!
We are a founding and active member of the new Invest in Cheese marketing initiative and have branded our area as Ontario's Artisan Cheese Region. To learn more about how to start a cheese-making operation, we have developed a comprehensive handbook. You can download a copy to your iPad from iTunes here. Or visit www.investincheese.ca to learn more.