Two of the Upper Economy cheese farm’s cheeses – Old Growler (gouda) and Dragon’s Breath Blue – were given top honours at the Canadian Cheese Awards.
“There were so many of our cheeses placing that we wanted to be there for the awards,” said Margaretha van den Hoek Field.
Both van den Hoek Field and her mother, Maja van den Hoek, attended the awards ceremony in Montreal late last week. Dragon’s Breath Blue won the Best Blue Cheese in Canada award, with Old Growler picking up the Best Gouda Cheese in Canada award. The business had five top-three cheese in four categories – Jalapeno Gouda was finalist in two categories: best cheese with flavour and best Atlantic; and Smoked Gouda in one: best Atlantic.
The family run business has been making artisan cheeses since 1980, with Maja van den Hoek the first cheesemaker.
“My mother and father learned how to make cheese together, and when my father was out farming, Mom would make the cheese,” said van den Hoek Field.
More than 300 cheeses from across Canada were entered in 17 categories at the awards, held every second year.
“We tried tons of cheese,” said van den Hoek Field. “There were a lot of delicious cheeses, but I wasn’t surprised ours won two awards. I know we make artisan cheeses, but that really makes it unique.”
That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm’s shop is open year-round, and visitors can watch the process several mornings each week. The family’s farm, animal and nature park is open for visitors over the summer.