This past month, the McGuinty Government has provided funds for expansion, protecting the environment, and for developing new products and creating jobs to a number of Food Sector Companies in rural Ontario – Hollandia Bakeries Limited, Black River Cheese, Empire Butter and Cheese Co-Operative, Skotidakis Goat Farm and EMC Members Ivanhoe Cheese (Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative) in Madoc and Pine River Cheese in Ripley, Ontario!
Our heartiest congratulations to all of these companies in their endeavours to become more efficient, sustainable, innovative and competitive in a global marketplace! Information on these recent announcements can be found on the OMAFRA website (a link is provided for each company below) and supplementing those press releases are some related news articles, company announcements and a You-Tube video as well sharing information on the planned use of these funds.
Pine River Cheese, Ripley, Ontario (www.pinerivercheese.com)
Pine River Cheese operates just south of Kincardine, Ontario. It began production in 1885 and is one of the few farmer-owned co-operatives that manufactures and sells a variety of cheese products including - mild, medium, old and premium cheddar, mozzarella, havarti, marble, and other flavoured cheeses. Pine River Cheese can be purchased at their own retail store and at over 800 locations in Ontario.
"Bruce County Cheese Maker Creates New Products and Jobs" - OMAFRA
"Pine River Squeezes Into New Markets"
Posted By QMI AGENCY (Article ID# 2500635)
Pine River Cheese is using a $100,000 provincial grant to create new cheese products. The company will use an extruder to make new products from cheese left over after larger blocks are trimmed to shape. General manager Vijay Kumar said the extruder will create cheese snackers in different shapes and sizes, such as stars, hearts and fish. Herbs and spices will be added to give the cheese different flavours. "The keystone is we'll be focusing on specialized cheese," said Kumar.
The extruder was installed in February and the project seems to be ahead of schedule. They hope to start distributing their new products in the next few months. The project requires three new marketing employees as well. Kumar hopes to expand sales to the United States. The company will also process seven million litres of milk per year, up from six million.
Huron-Bruce MPP and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Carol Mitchell recalled how she and her sisters would head to the factory with their grandfather once a year when she was a girl. "He said you never buy cheese before a heavy frost and you always buy it from Pine River Cheese," she said. "When we got here, he always took his time picking out the right cheese." Mitchell said she still purchases her cheese from Pine River Cheese, but more than once a year.
(Last fall, we visited Pine River Cheese in our Blogs… http://www.emccanada.org/blogs/emcfoodsec/emcfoodbev~4)
Ivanhoe Cheese (Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative), Madoc, Ontario (www.ivanhoecheese.com)
Ivanhoe Cheese Inc. is the oldest cheese processor with production beginning in 1870 and operating as a Dairy Co-Operative until 1986. Their products include Cheddar Cheese along with a variety of non-traditional speciality cheeses, unique process cheese items and quality cheese sauces.
"Madoc Cheese Maker Gets Boost" - OMAFRA
There is also a You-Tube Video available (about nine minutes in length) taken on site during the funding announcement that can be accessed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrLHPl-55qQ.
And in support of this funding, Gay Lea Foods, provided the following overview to its Members of the impact this grant will make on the organization with regard to its sustainability efforts:
"$377K for Ivanhoe Cheese" - Gay Lea Foods Announcement
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Gay Lea Foods is pleased to share the news that its Ivanhoe Cheese division has been awarded a $377,000 provincial government grant through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This funding was made available from the Rural Economic Development Program, which is a key part of the Ontario's Rural Plan, a vision for building stronger rural communities.
Yesterday, Leona Dombrowsky, MPP for Prince Ed-ward-Hastings made the announcement at Ivanhoe Cheese to plant management and employees, and local media. "It places cheese producers as a beacon in the food processing industry," she said.
Dombrowsky said the money will allow Ivanhoe Cheese to make environmental upgrades at its facility by installing a wash water system. The system will allow the treatment and re-use of a portion of the waste water that would normally be spread on farm fields over the summer months. We are investigating the possibility of sending solid materials produced by the treatment system to an energy generating station to serve as bio-fuel.
In recent months, the government modified its criteria for applications to this fund after recognizing that cheese factories in rural Ontario communities were important economic drivers.
Dave Toop, plant manager, is excited to see this Ivanhoe project going ahead. He predicted the wash water system will be up and running by the end of the year. He thanked Chris Spencer, operations manager at Ivanhoe Cheese, for his help in putting the application together.
Currently a consulting company is working on a hydro geological study to determine how much pre-treatment the wastewater will need. Gay Lea will then select one of the three proposals it has received to go ahead with the actual $750,000 project. Work is expected to start in about 12 weeks; the project is expected to be complete before the snow flies next winter.
This is great news for Gay Lea Foods. On hand to welcome guests and share in the exciting news was VP of Operations for Gay Lea Foods, Amrit Leighl. In her words, "With this investment, we can continue making quality local cheeses, help protect the environment and support our sustainability initiatives. As a leader in the Ontario dairy sector, Gay Lea Foods is proud to be participating in this program to ensure the continued success of Ivanhoe Cheese, the newest member of our co-operative family."
Hollandia Bakeries Limited, Mt. Brydges, Ontario (www.hollandiacookies.com)
Hollandia Bakeries Limited manufactures cookies in a large-scale production facility. At full optimization, this plant has the potential to produce up to 3500 pounds of cookies each hour and up to one and half million cookies each day!
"Sweet Expansion Opportunity for Ontario Cookie Company" - OMAFRA
"Sweet expansion for Mt. Brydges Company"
Posted By photo by Nancy Powers (Article ID# 2502670)
The sweet smell of expansion is in the air for a Mt. Brydges company, thanks in part to a $172,800 provincial grant.
Local MPP Maria Van Bommel was on hand at Hollandia Bakeries on Tuesday, March 16 to make the funding announcement, on behalf of Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
"This funding will mean that Hollandia Bakeries will be able to move forward and capture new market opportunities," said Mrs. Van Bommel. "It is a pleasure for me to bring good news to Mt. Brydges."
This family-owned business has operated since 1952, specializing in Dutch-style cookies, pies, and buns. It continues to grow and expand.
Hollandia Bakeries received the funding under the Rural Economic Development (RED) program, which is designed to foster economic development in Ontario, including job creation and retention.
The Mt. Brydges processor will now be able to create seven new full-time jobs, four seasonal, and one part-time position. It will also retain 36 existing positions, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, reformat packaging for new and existing products, as well as supply more grocery and retail chains.
For Hollandia Bakeries president Joop DeVoest Jr., the timing of the funding is perfect. "This grant will help Hollandia remain competitive and get into markets yet untapped to this company," said Mr. DeVoest. "This support is a tremendous boost and welcome news, enabling us to create new positions and helping us to diversify."
Black River Cheese, Milford, Ontario (www.blackrivercheese.com)
Black River Cheese is a small Cheese Manufacturer located in Prince Edward County. They produce a number of award-winning cheeses and have been operating since 1901.
"Milford Cheese Maker Gets Boost" - OMAFRA
Empire Cheese and Butter Co-Op, Campbellford, Ontario (www.empirecheese.ca)
Empire Cheese is the only Cheese Maker left in Northumberland County and is owned by the local dairy producers. They offer a wide range of cheese including cheddar and a number of mozzarella flavours (onion, garlic, red chillies, black pepper, horseradish, caraway, salsa, jalapeno, and jalapeno and red chillies (that has to be hot!))!
"Supporting Artisan Cheese Maker in Northumberland" - OMAFRA
"Environmental advances at Campbellford's Empire Cheese"
The Independent, by Moya Dillon - Mar 05, 2010 - 03:14 PM
CAMPBELLFORD -- Empire Cheese and Butter Co-op will be implementing new environmental standards thanks to provincial funding.
The new wastewater holding process was implemented to meet provincial regulations set out in 2005, which dictated that no wastewater could be spread between the dates of Dec. 31 and March 31. The legislation was designed to address concerns of waste washing over frozen ground and migrating into drinking water sources, but due to difficulties finding solutions the deadline for meeting requirements was backdated to 2009.
"At the time the government passed this law there was no real solution for the problem," said Jack Oliver, general manager of Empire Cheese. "We spent a lot of time talking with Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky trying to find a solution, and eventually we all came to the conclusion there was no cheap solution, so the government stepped forward to fund half the project."
In the case of Empire Cheese that translates to $187,000 in funding, which was announced on March 1. Empire Cheese was responsible for the remaining $187,000.
"We know how hard it is to meet these goals, and I truly think the government needs to be at the plate," said Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi, recalling the "long road" to finding a solution for the wastewater requirements.
"We truly understand the issue at hand and, overall, this isn't just about Empire Cheese, it's about our environment. Projects such as this support our government's commitment to healthy and economically strong rural communities."
The project includes a 45,000 litre holding tank and aerator, to control odour issues. Once excess whey is removed from the effluent created by the cheesemaking process the remaining wastewater will be stored in the tank for the winter months. During the spring and summer the wastewater will be spread on the fields of the 10 farming families that own the co-op.
"Having the provincial support to improve our wastewater management process has been essential," Mr. Oliver said. "With this investment we can focus our energies on making quality local cheeses, knowing we've effectively and efficiently reduced our environmental impact."
Originally established in 1870, Empire Cheese has grown to employ 22 people and was recently awarded a gold designation at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for its extra-mild cheddar cheese.
Skotidakis Goat Farm, St. Eugene, Ontario (www.skotidakis.com)
The Skotidakis Family operate a Goat Farm and cheese production facility. Located in St. Eugene, they manufacture feta cheese, ricotta cheese, pressed yogurt and tzatziki, and a yogurt-based spread of garlic and cucumber which are sold across Canada and into the United States.
"Prescott-Russell Dairy to Expand Cream Cheese Business" - OMAFRA
Congratulations and best wishes to our EMC Members Pine River Cheese and Ivanhoe Cheese and Fellow Food Sector Processors Hollandia Bakeries Limited, Black River Cheese, Empire Cheese and Butter Co-op and Skotidakis Goat Farm from all of us at EMC Canada!
Have a great week everyone!