NORTH LANCASTER Margaret Morris's feet are several inches off the ground these days. She's been walking on air since her two, 10- to 12-tonne-capacity aging rooms, lined with pine boards, began filling up with blocks and wheels of cheese. The finishing touches have been made in the cheese shop, which opened to the public Dec. 1.
The grand opening of Glengarry Fine Cheese will be a week-long event, says Morris, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and samples of the artisan cheese the factory is now producing. It's been a long time coming for the Eastern Ontario cheesemaker. But, after three years of planning and hard work the aging rooms have been steadily filling since milk began flowing into the North Lancaster factory this past summer.
Currently taking in 5,000 liters of cow's milk the factory is making cheese twice a week and will be increasing that with a move to 10,000 liters in the new year. The aim, she says, is to be at 20,000 liters a week by 2010. The factory currently employs five full-time staff and two part-time shop staff.
Reflecting the cultural foundations of the Glengarry community the factory is producing the bloomy-rind Figaro, which is similar to brie or Camembert, the bright orange, washed rind, semi-soft Alexandran and Celtic Blue, a mild, spreadable cheese that is a good choice for people reluctant to try blue cheese.
Boerderijkaas, a gouda-style cheese, is available plain or infused with caraway or garlic and herbs. Also available for the grand opening is the cheddar style, Glengarry Fen and its super-squeaky curd. The big cheese, Fleur de Lait, produced in a five-pound wheel, may not be ready for the grand opening, but should be available for New Year celebrations, says Morris.
The factory's second level houses the company's cheese-making and dairy supply division and includes a meeting and seminar room with a public viewing gallery. By appointment, visitors will be able to look down on the gleaming, stainless vats and watch the company's three cheesemakers ply their trade.
The cheese shop will be open 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and noon to 5 on weekends through the holiday season. As well as cheese, the shop will carry cow-themed giftware, wine and kitchen accessories, and Ontario-grown products like maple syrup, jams and condiments. The cheese-making and dairy supplies that Morris has been selling to home cheesemakers and cheese factories across the province, like stainless steel whisks and ladles, hand-carved wooden butter presses and yoghurt culture would also be a great addition to the average home kitchen.
Glengarry Fine Cheese is located at 5926 County Road 34, Lancaster.