Glengarry Fine Cheese
Breaking Down Borders With Award Winning Cheese
By: Andrew Reed
Monday to Friday
10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Margaret Peters-Morris, a self-taught cheese maker, went from making cheese at home to running the most successful cheese shop in the region.
During the 1990s, Peters-Morris began making cheese in her garage while living on her father’s dairy farm. To this day, she still has her original 700-litre vat in the factory.
Peters-Morris recalls learning from old farming books that were written in the 1800s, since the Internet was still fairly young when she was starting out.
“They were books about farming, but more specially, books about cheese making on farms,” she said.
Peters-Morris was also fortunate to be able to travel to the Netherlands, U.K., and France to learn how to make authentic European cheeses.
She brought that experience back with her to Canada and in 2008 she moved into her current location in Glengarry.
Today, Glengarry Fine Cheese employs 10 people, including Wilma Klein-Swormink, the resident cheese maker at Glengarry Fine Cheese.
Although the operation may appear small, Peters-Morris says that is what makes the cheese so good.
“You don’t have a large factory like mass produced cheese does,” she explained. “You have a smaller space so your acquaintance with the vat is intimate.”
Together, the team at Glengarry Fine Cheese has won prestigious domestic and international cheese awards, including awards from competitions in the U.K, U.S., and Canada.
In 2013, the cheese factory won the Global Cheese Making Competition in Somerset, U.K. and was crowned the “Global Supreme Champion for Overseas Cheese” for their Gouda style Lankaaster Aged.
“This was a win not only for us, but for Canada and our dairy farmers,” Peters-Morris said. “Because it was the first Canadian cheese to win in the 156 year old competition.”
She said it was all thanks to a judge from the U.K. who was visiting the area, who encouraged her to enter the competition.
But the awards didn’t stop there; in 2015 their Celtic Blue Reserve won the American Cheese Society Best in Show, beating out over 1800 different competitors.
“When I started all of this in my garage, I never imagined winning awards like that,” Peters-Morris said.
Peters-Morris says the key to creating great cheese is keeping it simple and not producing a large variety of them. That way, the recipe can be refined time and time again and more attention can be put into those cheeses.
Aside from the award winning cheeses and loyal customers, Peter-Morris says a huge part of what she loves about her job is seeing the Canadian Culture for cheese expand.
“There’s a cross culture here of cheeses and pallets that are coming together to make the most unique cheese in the world,” she said.
While doing so, Glengarry Fine Cheese has been able to build relationships with local dairy farmers, restaurants, and producers of products that are complimentary with cheese like jellies and crackers.
Glengarry Fine Cheese also offers cheese-making kits, which Peter-Morris says are becoming increasingly popular and can be compared to homemade wine kits.
As Glengarry Fine Cheese continues to expand its operation, the award winning recipes that were first developed by Peters-Morris, which are still used today, will continue to remain and likely win more awards in the future.