Cheesemaker to use federal money to continue expanding
BY TARA MACDONALD
Staff Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Frances Drouin visited Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc. last week to announce an investment of $162,833 that will help the Lancaster business continue to grow.
The grant, part of the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, will help the company complete its $918,082 expansion project at the facility at 5926 County Road 34. The project will the increase volume of cow and goat milk used in production, streamline and optimize processing for increased cheese production while increasing improving, reducing production costs, create two new dairy products and add three jobs.
“To be recognized and supported by our government with this grant funding is a wonderful acknowledgement for the business and in turn our community,” said Margaret Peters-Morris, owner of Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc.
Stormont- Dundas- Glengarry Warden Jamie MacDonald agreed. “It’s great to see the federal government put some money behind these small businesses and help promote food tourism,” said the North Glengarry mayor, who commented on industry advances, the ability to increase local job opportunities and the entrepreneurial spirit of local farm-to-table food artisans. “Agri-food tourism is one of those niche industries that a lot of areas are trying to promote. Here in Glengarry we have Glengarry Fine Cheese, Stonehouse Vineyards, Wood Brothers Brewing, and the list continues to grow.”
The Dairy Processing Investment Fund, valued at $100 million, was established to provide funding to dairy processors to modernize their operations and improve productivity and competitiveness while helping them prepare for market changes resulting from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
“The dairy industry contributes greatly to the economic health of this part of our country,” said Mr. Drouin. “Through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the Government of Canada is offering opportunities to small businesses – such as Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc. - to grow and contribute to the prosperity of our region.”
“We have our brand established now, the cheese has achieved many prestigious domestic and international awards and is known to be that of high-quality consistent product,” said Ms. PetersMorris. “This is going from an artisan plan to something larger; it will literally double the business we’re already doing,” she beamed. “Nothing’s holding us back now.”
“High-quality” is an understatement. For many years now, Ms. Peters-Morris and her team have been producing some of the finest cheese in the world and have brought Glengarry accolades throughout North America and Europe with her Aged Lankaaster Loaf and Celtic Blue cheeses.
Established in 2004, Glengarry Cheese Making Inc.’s Aged Lankaaster Loaf was crowned champion in the semi-firm category at the Dairy Farmers of Canada 2011 Grand Prix and won first prize at the American Cheese Society awards for best American Made/International Style-Dutch Style category. That year, the famed Lankaaster cheese went on to win Grand Champion Variety Cheese at the 2011 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto before hitting the world stage as Supreme Global Champion at the Global Cheese Awards in Somerset, England in 2013 becoming the first Canadian company to win this award in the competition's 153-year history.
Despite its national and international success, the small factory was unable to reach federal licensing standards which would enable it to expand its market outside of Ontario.
New equipment, new markets
With the help of the Dairy Processing Investment Fund, the firm will install new automated brining equipment allowing for the production of butter and ice cream. Most notably, the company will be also supported in the purchase of a stainless-steel lift thereby fulling the requirements for a federal processing licence and opening the door to interprovincial markets.
“That’s my goal – to go federal. We’ll be able to sell anywhere we want now,” said Ms. Peters-Morris who expects the project to be completed by the end of this summer.
While Ms. Peters-Morris plans to focus her initial efforts on Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, the licence will also enable the cheesemaker to sell its cheeses in the United States, Europe, and beyond.
“After ten years in the fine cheese sector, we would like and need to meet our new market opportunities within Canada and the USA,” said Ms. Peters-Morris. “We would also like to pursue our export opportunities and participate in further international trade when our licence is broadened to federal standard.”
BIGGER SLICE OF THE MARKET: Warden Jamie MacDonald, MP Francis Drouin, Margaret Peters-Morris, and South Glengarry Mayor Frank Prevost have reason to smile. Glengarry Cheesemaking Inc. will expand its facility and create jobs as it continues to carve out a large chunk of the market.