We all want to develop better teams, build better plants, generate better ideas, produce better products and in turn we trust that we are helping to build better "Communities" – not only at home, but within our industry, through associations, with our peers and so on. So, with “Community” in mind – and “sharing” at heart - particularly as it relates to the food sector, beginning this month and each thereafter, I look forward to celebrating a Member’s uniqueness, so to speak… Providing a brief glimpse of a
Each Manufacturer/Processor or Grower is unique in their own respect - for example - their location, their people, their visions, values and methodologies and so forth… the sector, the product perhaps in some way, the Membership Associations or Organizations and the Industry Regulations that need to be complied with (given the product produced) are among many plant examples that we hold somewhat the same… The core and fundamental element of EMC Canada is about networking and sharing - not only those things that are common in our day to day activities as mentioned above - but it is also meant to challenge, stimulate or motivate us to build upon the elements and best practices we each have in place in our own "unique" organizations beyond our day to day commonalities and those things that we hold "somewhat the same".
We all want to develop better teams, build better plants, generate better ideas, produce better products and in turn we trust that we are helping to build better communities - not only at home, but within our industry, through associations, with our peers and so on. So, with "Community" in mind - and "sharing" at heart - particularly as it relates to the food sector, beginning this month and each thereafter, I look forward to celebrating a Member's uniqueness, so to speak… Providing a brief glimpse of a company, their products and website, perhaps some of the challenges they face or an opportunity they wish to explore or an event to be celebrated or a path they have taken that led to success - it is a chance to profile your company - to put a name, a face and a product together so-to-speak and in essence to build our "Community" of Food and Beverage Processors!
As a Dairy Farmer's daughter and a past Dairy Princess of Bruce County (the things you learn reading my blog…), I thought perhaps one of the first Member Features should focus on a portion of the food and beverage sector that was a core part of my family for over 30 years… the Dairy Industry…
"Dairy Month" is celebrated in June every year with activities and promotions and a plethora of tantalizing recipes promoting dairy products from milk to cheese to yogurt to sour cream and so forth. In honour of Dairy Month just past, our first EMC Member focus is on a well-known cheese processor, and I am delighted to share just a few tidbits of information on the dairy industry, the cheese sector and, most importantly, on the company beginning the first of our Member Focus spotlights - Pine River Cheese!
JUST TO GET YOU WARMED UP ON THE DAIRY SIDE OF THINGS, DID YOU KNOW:
- According to 2007 statistics, the average dairy farm across Canada had 67 cows in their herd and 93% of those herds are Holstein…
- The average Canadian cow produces 9,538 kgs of milk in 305 days of lactation…
- In 2007, there were 445 processing plants in Canada - 313 of those in Ontario and Quebec - culminating in 22,130 jobs…
- Organic milk producers are rising across the Provinces… and in 2007 processed 622,043 hl...
- From a cheese perspective, cheese making itself has been an important industry for the past 400 years…
- In 2008, Canada produced 396,363 tonnes of cheese...
- Canada imported 25,649 tonnes of cheese in 2008 mainly from US, France and Italy…
- That in addition to speciality cheeses produced from goats milk, sheep cheesemakers are now also producing a variety of products
Pine River Cheese began in 1885 on the banks of the Pine River, near the shores of Lake Huron just south of Kincardine, Ontario. It is one of the few farmer-owned co-operatives that manufacturers and sells a variety of cheese products and they are particularly well known for their unique brand of high quality aged Cheddar. The plant is run by a Board of Directors (who are dairy producers), and led by a President with a two year term. Pine River Cheese can be purchased at their own retail store and at over 800 locations in Ontario. Global markets are also now opening up in Western Canada, Mexico, Asia and Cuba.
In 1930 Pine River Cheese produced 121,187 lbs of cheese… in 1949, not quite twenty years later, they almost tripled that with 552,785 lbs of production… Now more than 50 years later, a modern facility, coupled with today's technology, specialty designed equipment for processing and packaging, better transportation and delivery systems and available marketing mediums among many other things have allowed Pine River Cheese to manufacture and sell over 2.25 million lbs of their core products on an annual basis.
The company operates as a batch process and produces a number of cheese and cheese-related products - mild, medium, old and premium cheddar, mozzarella, havarti, marble, and other flavoured cheeses. In speaking with the General Manager, Bill Rutledge, one of the opportunities that they see within this sector is the emerging and growing artisan and ethnic markets. They are progressive in nature and always looking for unique value-added products.
In addition to their own cheeses, the Company also has a retail store right on site that carries certain varieties of organic cheeses and complimentary products, such as speciality coffees, cocoa, hot chocolate, imported chocolate, candy, biscuits, a wide variety of crackers, jams, jellies and other preserves, pickles, olives, and so on.
With increased consumer demand and a need for better inventory control, Pine River Cheese decided to participate in OMAFRA's Traceability Pilot Program in 2007. The results were tremendous particularly around inventory management but also included improved recall specificity and speed and this ultimately led to better invoicing and sales capabilities as well.
Demonstrating the principle of sharing and educating others - Pine River Cheese outright encourages knowledge - knowledge about their processes, their product, their history. They have a viewing gallery that is open to the public at no charge and they even have a Bruce County Museum artifact display. They enjoy and welcome school trips, association groups, 4-H Members and Tourists passing through and take pride in the opportunity to teach the young - and those young at heart - about the very old and honourable art of cheese making utilizing traditional processes and modern technology.
In accordance with sharing knowledge is also sharing appreciation… and this is what led to today's focus on Pine River Cheese. This past weekend I was delighted to have participated in their annual Customer Appreciation Day and what an excellent turnout! The menu item of the day - cheese burgers of course - barbque'd to perfection! Our thanks to the chefs!
Finally, with the principles of sharing and learning about our Community of Food and Beverage Processors, this tiny glimpse of one of our Member Companies offers us the opportunity among many of the initiatives they have underway to give mind specifically to the importance of the relationships we have with our Customers, our Suppliers and our Community at large and how we can maintain and grow that loyalty as we move forward in our businesses today.
Pine River Cheese
R.R. #4 Ripley, Ontario N0G 2R0
Bill Rutledge, General Manager
If you would like to have your company featured in an upcoming Member Focus, please let me know - I would be absolutely delighted to hear from you!!
Have a great day!