All Categories
    Menu Close
    Back to all

    12 Ontario Cheese Producers Proving You Need Not Look Further Than Ontario For Quality & Variety

    12 Ontario Cheese Producers Proving You Need Not Look Further Than Ontario For Quality & Variety

    It really goes without saying but we make some pretty damn good cheese here in Ontario! We're truly spoiled with the quality and variety of cheeses produced by our local cheese makers. And, at 100km Foods, we're lucky to partner with some of the very best in the game.

    We're going to introduce you to 12 of our favourite Ontario cheese producers (in no particular order), give you a sneak peak inside their production process and our go-to cheeses from each producer available through 100km Foods!

    1. Ontario Cheese By Mountainoak Cheese

    “Farming is not only an occupation, it’s a way of living.” – Adam Van Bergeijk.

    Wise words from the owner of Mountainoak cheese, Rick Mercer’s favourite dairy farmer and cheesemaker!

    Adam and Hannie Van Bergeijk are the owners of Mountainoak located in New Hamburg, ON. Their son Arjo and his wife Baukje help to run the farm.

    Being a true family business, it only makes sense that the name ‘Mountainoak’ comes from their family name! The English translation of their Dutch family name, “Van Bergeijk”, means “from the mountain oak.”

    Mountainoak Cheese Rick Mercer

    History of Mountainoak Cheese

    Originally, Adam and Hannie were dairy farmers from the Netherlands. They became interested in cheese making, and in the early 1980s, they attended an artisanal cheese making school that had a 300 year history of making Gouda style cheese.

    The cheeses they made in Holland grew in popularity, but eventually, they wanted to expand their dairy farm. Thus, they decided to immigrate to Canada, where they purchased their first farm in Wilmot Township in September 1996.

    In the beginning, they actually had no plans to continue making cheese. Instead they wanted to focus on raising their herd. As Adam and Hannie’s sons grew older and began to take over the farming and dairy herd duties, Adam and Hannie moved back towards making artisanal Dutch goudas.

    At first, this was just for personal consumption, but as the popularity of their cheeses grew, they decided to officially go into the cheese making business! So when it came time to brand their business, the name Mountainoak just made sense — Mountainoak milk should be made into Mountainoak cheese!


    Mountainoak Cheese Wheels

    Mountainoak Cheese Production Process

    As Adam explains, "everything you do with your cows is gonna be paid back in your milk". This is a philosophy they put into practice at Mountainoak.

    On 325 hectares of land, they grow feed, care for, and milk their own herd of over 400 dairy cows. They use the 11,000 litres of high quality milk produced yearly to turn into their delicious artisanal cheeses.

    By being so involved with each step of the process, they ensure that their milk has as much flavour as possible. This is reflected in the superior quality of the carefully crafted cheeses they produce.

    They also care about ensuring the environmental sustainability of their farm for future generations. Right now, their fresh water source for cheese production comes from a well, which requires softening and reverse osmosis to make it suitable for cheese making. 

    They had an assessment done by the Bloom Centre for Sustainability in conjunction with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario to see where they could conserve water use and be as efficient as possible. By doing so, the managed to reduce their water use by 25-30%!

    Since completing their assessment, they're evaluating other systems to increase water collection, such as recycling rainwater. All of this is done with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of dairy farming and cheese making. This is something we’re totally on board with here at 100km Foods!

    Mountainoak Cheese Must-Tries!

    The cheese varieties they produce are delectable and award winning! Their Farmstead Gold is a full flavoured farmstead gouda that exudes hints of butterscotch and caramel that's aged for 18 months.

    Mountainoak Farmstead Gold

    The list of awards this cheese has won is extensive, including the Reserve Grand Champion at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair, as well as 1st place in the British Empire Cheese Competition in 2015!

    Their Farmstead Mild is aged 2-3 months and is exceptionally smooth and creamy. This cheese is A+ for melting, and won 1st place in the Class 4 Semi-Firm Cheese at the British Empire Cheese competition in 2016.

    Their Farmstead Smoked takes the creamy, Farmstead Mild and uses an apple wood smoke to give it a beautiful smoky flavour! This fantastic cheese took home first place twice at the British Empire Cheese competition in both 2014 and 2015.

    These cheeses, along with a variety of others by Mountainoak, are available on 100km Foods. Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    Try some today and let us know what you think!

    2. Ontario Cheese By Thornloe Cheese Co.

    Next up in our list of some top Ontario cheese producers is Thornloe Cheese Co. As many of you may know, we have a variety of amazingly tasty artisanal cheeses from Thorloe.

    Thornloe is located in Temiskaming Valley, part of the Canadian Shield surrounded by the Boreal forest of Northeastern Ontario. The region is called the “Little Clay Belt,” which is also home to many Amish and Mennonite farming communities.

    Temiskaming Valley

    History of Thornloe Cheese

    Thornloe Cheese has a long history – it was first opened in 1940 by Rene Laframboise. At the time, Rene employed just two people and used 900lbs of milk!

    Through the years, Thornloe was owned and operated by various partners in the region. At peak production, Thornloe was processing 40,000,000 litres of milk per year, running almost 24 hrs a day.

    In 1997, Parmalat took over the cheese making plant, and continued to produce high quality cheese products until 2006. At this time, the operation nearly closed.

    However, a group of sustainably-minded farmers and Gencor came together to form a partnership to save Thornloe.

    In 2019, Thornloe Cheese was bought by Gay Lea Foods. Gay Lea Foods Chair Rob Goodwill said, "Thornloe Cheese has a long and storied history in northern Ontario and holds a special place in the hearts of northern dairy farmers and consumers alike.

    We are pleased to keep Thornloe Cheese Co. in the hands of a wholly Canadian dairy farmer-owned co-operative and help keep northeastern Ontario's rich agricultural legacy alive."

    Thornloe Cheese Production Process

    Like Mountainoak, the farmers and cheese makers at Thornloe understand that their product is only as good as the quality of milk that goes into it. Thus, they source high-quality milk directly from nearby farmers, who feed the animals a diet primarily consisting of barley, grass and silage (as opposed to corn).

    This results in creamier milk with a higher fat content and translates into the exceptional line of cheeses Thornloe has on offer.

    Thornloe Cheese Must-Tries!

    At 100km Foods, we predominantly carry their blue cheese varieties, which are part of their “Taste of Place” line. Casey and and Devil’s rock are iconic locations in the region.

    The Casey Blue is a bolder, semi-soft and flakey blue cheese.

    Devil’s rock is a lighter, creamier blue and is easily recognizable by its pyramid shape, dipped in black wax.

    Thornloe Cheese Devils Rock

    Devil's rock is named for the breathtaking lookout point in the area of the same name.

    We also carry their Charlton cheese, also part of the "Taste of Place" line. This cheese is named for the Charlton farming region just Northwest of Thornloe.

    This cheese is a goat’s milk cheese patterned after Italian Crotonese that comes in a 600g baby wheel, with a creamy white feta-like texture.

    Another favourite is their Temiskaming, a harder cheese with a golden interior, which was awarded a 2009 Canadian Grand Prix Finalist – Firm Cheese Category.  

    We also have a fantastic firm, smoked mozzarella with a robust, smokey flavour.

    All six varieties of Blue and Artisanal from Thornloe Cheese Co. are available at 100km Foods. Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    3. Ontario Cheese By Monforte Dairy

    Monforte Dairy is an Ontario cheese producer that believes agriculture is best practiced on a human scale. Each of their cheeses reflects something deeper than the technology behind mass manufactured food. They are each a little flavour of the poetry and passion of life itself.

    Ruth Klahsen originally opened Monforte Dairy in Millbank, Ontario 12 years ago, but it is now located in Stratford, Ontario. She has a longstanding culinary career, graduating in the first class of the Stratford Chef School in the 1980s. She's also worked in a number of fantastic restaurants in Stratford over the years, as well as spent time staging abroad in winter.

    Over time, Ruth’s love of cheese evolved from a side project into starting her own dairy business. Her extraordinary passion for cheese making continues to shine through in all of their Monforte's amazing Ontario cheeses.

    Ruth Klahsen, Owner & Operator of Monforte Dairy

    Originally, Monforte sourced milk from small Mennonite and Amish sheep farms. However, as the dairy industry shifted over time, they expanded to also produce cheese from goat, water buffalo and cow’s milk.

    Monforte Dairy Production Process

    Monforte is an incredible example of a business that is fiercely dedicated to sustainability.

    They have, and always will, only source their milk sustainably from small-scale farms that follow the natural life-cycle of the animals. This means the farmers milk the animals until they naturally dry up in the late fall and winter. They then begin milking again in the spring-time after they drop.

    By following this natural cycle, their offerings follow a progression – lots of fresh cheeses in the spring and summer, and then shifting towards harder, aged cheeses for the fall and winter.

    Monforte Dairy Must-Tries!

    100km Foods carries a wide variety of Monforte cheeses, both aged and fresh.

    Some favourites include Providence Aged Cheddar – an intensely flavoured cheese that tastes as though its been aged 3 years, with butterscotch and nutty notes.

    Another must-try is their Tomme, a wild-aged cow cheese with a firm texture.                        

    Monforte Dairy Tomme

    There’s also their Chevre, which is incredibly fresh and beautifully simple.

    We’ve been working with Monforte Dairy for quite some time now, and we are so excited to continue to grow our businesses together and bring you an amazing array of cheeses crafted by such a passionate team.

    Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    4. Ontario Cheese By Back Forty Artisan Cheese

    Located along the banks of Eastern Ontario’s Mississippi River, Back Forty Artisan Cheese is a small farm and sheep dairy processor. Established in the year 2000, Back Forty is amongst the first sheep milk cheese producers in the Country.

    All of the raw sheep milk which is used to craft their traditional unpasteurized cheeses comes from five carefully selected nearby family run farms.

    Back Forty believes in a more traditional, hands on approach to cheese making. They are a small owner operated, family run business with a primary goal of providing unique and great tasting cheeses that capture the terroir and flavor of the rustic and beautiful Ottawa valley.

    Back Forty Artisan Cheese Production

    With a core focus on animal welfare, land stewardship, quality home grown feed and pasture, these farms are able to achieve the highest quality milk, which is carefully refined into the most delicious cheese through the natural process of fermentation.

    Back Forty believes in a more traditional, hands on approach to cheese making. They are a small owner operated, family run business with a primary goal of providing unique and great tasting cheeses that capture the terroir and flavor of the rustic and beautiful Ottawa valley.

    Back Forty Cheese Must-Tries!

    Back Forty's Bonnechere has a moderate aroma of smouldering wood due to the rind being toasted over an open flame before aging. This tasty cheese has a long finish with flavours of citrus and slightly sour hickory smoke.

    Back Forty Cheese Bonnechere

    Flower Station is another must-try cheese in the Back Forty line. It has an authentic taste of the Mediterranean and really wakes up your taste buds!

    Back Forty Flower Station

    A tangy and rich blue cheese, their Highland Blue has a natural rind and delicate overtones of blue mold, combined with butter and mushroom. It is full-flavoured, earthy and savoury with less salt and acidity than many blues.

    Highland Blue Back Forty Cheese

    Lastly, their Madawaska cheese is a beautiful rustic bloomy rind cheese with a range of tastes and textures. From a chalky, slightly tangy centre to a soft, sweet and slightly salty cream under the rind, this cheese has a truly unique flavour and texture profile.

    Madawaska Back Forty Cheese

    Back Forty has a small shop and patio at their dairy that is open during summer season so make sure you make it out for a visit and to try their incredible cheeses.

    Jeff and Jenna also say they have hopes of one day starting a small restaurant and a collection of cabins for rent on their land. Sounds like heaven!

    Visit the farm and tasting room located in Mississippi Station, any Saturday from June – October. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook

    You can also browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    5. Ontario Cheese By Blyth Farm Cheese

    Blyth Farm Cheese is a family farm business located near Lake Huron lead by a master cheese maker Paul Van Dorp. Originally from Holland, Paul furthered his cheese making skills by studying at Guelph University before eventually starting Blyth Farm in 2011. 

    Blyth Farm Cheese Production

    Paul Van Dorp and Sarah Reid craft excellent artisanal cheeses made with fresh Ontario goats milk from Paul’s family farm. They produce traditional Dutch Gouda-style cheeses, made with goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk.

    The goat's milk adds a richness and depth of flavour that is characteristic of their wide range of Goudas!

    Everything from the farming, to the cheese making, to the packing, is done right on our farm.

    Blyth Farm Cheese Must-Tries!

    Described by Blyth's as "goat cheese with the volume turned down", their Blyth's Eweda Gouda is sweet and velvety, the perfect goat cheese for a sweet and subtle flavour.

    Next up is "mozzarella's hotter cousin", Blyth's Queen Bee cheese is mild in flavour and naturally sweetened with a slight kick!

    Blyth's Queen Bee

    Dubbed the go-to cheese for "wine connoisseurs", Blyth's Drunken Goat cheese is beautifully aromatic and soaked in Merlot which you can taste in the flavour profile of this delicious cheese.

    Blyth's Drunken Goat

    Lastly, a round-up of Blyth's must-tries wouldn't be complete without their Golden Blyth Aged. This cheese packs a punch with a robust flavour and is one of my favourite cheeses in their line!

    Blyth's Golden Aged

    Blyth’s Cheese was some of the first cheese we ever carried at 100km Foods, and is still a staple item of our dairy offering! Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    6. Ontario Cheese By Stonetown Cheese

    Stonetown Cheese has a simple motto: "Life is great. Cheese makes it better."

    Stonetown Cheese Owners

    At Stonetown Cheese, Hans and Jolanda Weber share in this sentiment. In fact, it is this belief, along with farming, that motivated them to immigrate to Canada in 1996.

    With their three children, they began a new life in St. Marys, Ontario where they started their own dairy farm. Having previously worked in the Swiss Alps, it was always their dream to produce delicious, high quality cheese reminiscent of the renowned Swiss Mountain cheeses and made from their own milk.

    With a profound commitment to creating cheese of the highest quality, the support of their family and Master Cheese Maker, Ramon Eberle, from Switzerland, their humble dream became a reality in 2015.

    Stonetown Cheese Production

    Stonetown's cheeses are handcrafted, alpine style cheeses. This means they are low in sodium and made with fresh whole cow’s milk. They use unpasteurized, additive-free cow's milk from their family farm to obtain a superior taste. This ensures the cheese is pure, natural and of the highest quality.

    Their commitment to produce high quality cheese is best reflected in the care they give to their Holstein cows. They live in a clean and comfortable free stall barn, sleep year round on beach sand and enjoy the best quality feed.

    Stonetown Cheese Must-Tries!

    Stonetown's Homecoming cheese is a crowd favourite amongst 100km Foods customers, and for a good reason. Homecoming is a Tilsit-style semi-soft cheese with a natural milky texture and nutty flavour. It's aged 3-4 months and pairs well with beer or any drink for that matter!

    Next up is one of our best Stonetown sellers, and first place winner at the 2018 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Stonetown's Farmstead Emmental. This firm cheese is aged 3-5 months and has a natural sweet, yet somehow also savoury, nutty flavour.

    Stonetown Cheese Farmstead Emmental

    Lastly, Stonetown's Game Changer cheese had to make this list. Game Changer is extremely creamy and is soaked in Vineland Estates Winery's Game Changer red wine.

    Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    7. Ontario Cheese By Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese

    Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese is a small, artisanal dairy located in Woodstock, Ontario owned by Shep Ysselstein. Shep crafts small-batch cheeses made with a marked Swiss influence. His family has been farming in the region since the 1950s. 

    Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese

    Gunn's Hill Cheese Production Process

    Shep sources all the milk for their line of Gunn's Hill cheeses from his family farm.

    Check out this video to get a behind the scenes look at their cheese production process!

    Gunn's Hill Cheese Must-Tries!

    If you've never tried Gunn's Hill Brigid's Brie, you're missing out on brie perfection! This soft surface ripened cheese is made with cow's milk and is is free of stabilizers and preservatives. This is why it's sold with a 'best between' date, with every batch aged six weeks to preserve it's creamy centre.

    Gunn's Hill Brigid's Brie

    Handeck is one of Gunn's Hill's most popular cheese with 100km Foods customers. This cheese was named after the town in Switzerland where Shep studied cheese making. Handeck is a Swiss-style, hand-crafted washed rind cow's milk cheese, that is delicately aged on cedar wood planks giving the cheese a robust flavour.

    5 Brothers is another must-try! This cow's milk cheese is a hybrid between a Gouda and an Appenzeller. It is available at 8 months old and in December they offer a reserve version (which is my personal favourite!) that is aged 18 months. It is also aged on cedar wood planks, like the Handeck, but has a creamier texture, rich flavors with sweeter overtones.

    Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!

    8. Ontario Cheese By Best Baa Dairy

    Best Baa Dairy is a small dairy in Fergus, Ontario owned by Peter and Nicole Bzikot. In 1998, they moved their flock from Manitoba to Ontario. After researching European production of sheep's milk cheese, they discovered their flock was the best breed to produce milk for cheese!

    Sheep's milk retains the same volume when turned into cheese, which removes the need for thickeners. It's a great alternative for those who are sensitive to cow's milk!

    Best Baa Dairy

    Best Baa Dairy Production Process

    Best Baa Dairy uses non-homogenized ewe's milk as the basis for most of their cheeses, and source their milk from within 100km of their facility!

    They source milk from farmers who pasture feed their flocks in the warmer months and supply them with alfalfa hay in winter. They don't supplement their diets with corn or soya products. Their packaging is recyclable and BPA free.

    They also prioritize animal welfare in their production and understand that they are stewards of the land. They utilize the 'Five Freedoms' guidelines for their herd, which comprises of freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from fear and disease; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain and injury; and freedom from to express natural, normal behaviour.

    Best Baa Dairy Must-Tries!

    Their traditional Greek-style feta is in a league of its own! It's tangy with subtle hints of lemon. This feta is ridiculously delicious on its own and is the perfect addition to enhance virtually any dish!

    Best Baa Dairy Feta

    Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods

    9. Ontario Cheese By Lenberg Farms Cheese

    Lenberg Farms was the original 100 acre goat dairy farm located near Lindsay, Ontario owned by Bruce and Sharon Vandenberg, owners of Mariposa Dairy.

    Martin Bons worked a herd of 750 dairy goats on his farm in Holland along with his brother, who raised dairy cattle. Because there was no room to expand his Holland farm, Bons applied for a visa to come to Canada in 2010.

    In October of 2015 Bons came to Canada to manage the Vandenberg herd, supplying the goats milk for Mariposa Dairy and in 2018 Martin and his wife Sonja took ownership of the farm.

    Lenberg Farms Production Process

    All Lenberg Farms cheeses are Ontario goat and sheep milk“Celebrity” style cheeses. They add sea salt to bring out the delicate flavour of the cheese and all cheeses are animal rennet free.

    Lenberg Farms Must-Tries!

    Lenberg Farms Lindsay Bandaged Cheddar is a small batch, hand-crafted cheese made from premium goat's milk. Made in the old world way by wrapping the cheddar wheel with cheesecloth to help to age and preserve the flavour. They age the cheese on pine boards yielding an earthy, nutty, and slightly crumbly cheese. So delicious, a personal favourite of mine!

    100km Foods Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar

    Their Tania Toscano-style Sheep Milk Cheese is another must-try with a mild, sweet, yet nutty flavor.

    10. Ontario Cheese By Glengarry Fine Cheese

    Noted cheesemaking consultant Margaret Peters Morris opened Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster Ontario across from her family farm in 2008. This fulfilled a lifelong dream and complemented her cheesemaking supply business which operates adjacent to the cheese plant.

    Margaret and cheesemaker Wilma Klein-Swormink combine years of experience and education which has led to the production of many award winning artisanal cheeses. They have adapted Dutch style techniques and equipment, most notably the European style ripening rooms where the cheese is aged.

    Glengarry Fine Cheese Production Process

    The milk used for the wide range of cheese comes from a family farm located just a few kilometers from the factory. Their herd of Brown Swiss cattle produces A1 milk year round. In recent years, the cheese factory’s production has expanded to include a line of cheeses made from Ontario goat milk.

    Glengarry Fine Cheese Must-Tries!

    The first must-try cheese from Glengarry would have to be their soft, lactic, bloomy rind cheese, Figaro. Made in the tradition of Chaource cheese from the Champagne region of France, Figaro’s milky, fresh taste and delicate texture truly sets it apart. You can enjoy it young (aged 3 weeks) when the flavour is quite mild or aged (6 weeks) where the yeasty rind intensifies the flavor.

    Next, their Aged Lankaaster is a firm cheese aged 8-12 months that is shaped as a loaf. According to Glengarry, this is to express the fact that it is meant to be sliced and eaten directly on bread as the Dutch farmers do. It has mild to medium flavour that sweetens over time and develops a hint of nuttiness.

    Lastly, this round-up wouldn’t be complete without Glengarry’s Celtic Blue! Aged 2-3 months, the Celtic Blue is a soft and creamy blue cheese. The typical blue cheese taste is rather mild in the Celtic Blue, softened by a buttery aroma.

    Margaret & Wilma of Glengarry Fine Cheese

    11. Ontario Cheese By Quality Cheese

    Located in Vaughan, Quality Cheese is owned and operated by Albert, Joseph and William Borgo - AKA the Borgo Brothers. They specialize in making award winning traditional Italian style cheeses.

    The passion they have for cheese making truly translates into the exceptional quality — pun intended — of Quality Cheese cheeses.

    Quality Cheese Production Process

    Quality Cheese uses only the freshest milk and ingredients in their cheese production process. They pay careful attention to every detail, and use the best practices and techniques to make fantastic local cheeses!

    Quality Cheese Must-Tries!

    The first Quality Cheese must-try would have to be their Bella Casa Burrata. This fresh cheese has the most perfect sweet flavour, soft smooth exterior and a textured, creamy centre.

    Quality Cheese Burrata

    Next, their Bella Casa Ricotta is another favourite! Their sweet, creamy ricotta is made with pasteurized whey, pasteurized buffalo milk, citric acid, and salt. Simple ingredients paired with expert craftsmanship yield this incredible cheese. Perfect in stuffed pastas!

    12. Ontario Cheese By Bright Cheese and Butter

    Bright Cheese and Butter is the oldest surviving dairy producing cheddar in Ontario. It began as a group of farmers who wanted to use up a surplus of milk from production. By the 1900’s, cheddar cheese was actually Canada’s second biggest export! 

    Bright Cheddar & Butter

    At that time, over 1,242 cheddar factories existed in Ontario, Bright’s Dairy being one of the many. Though much has changed since then, Bright’s Dairy still operates out of the very same factory they have since 1874!

    Bright Cheese & Butter Production Process

    Bright Cheese & Dairy follows conventional growing practices using local ingredients. They are well known for producing all natural, naturally-aged cheese made with 100% local milk using traditional methods.

    Bright Cheese Must-Tries!

    Their aged cheddar cheese is a must-try! It has a strong flavour profile, with a distinguished taste and a slightly crumbly texture. It's an excellent choice for cheese boards or to make the meanest grilled cheese sandwich!

    Bright Cheddar and Butter

    You also can't go wrong with their feta. It's creamy, salty and crumbly with, everything you want from a feta style cheese. Excellent crumbled in salads, stuffed in poultry or sprinkled on pizzas!

    Browse their producer profile to browse all their products available on 100km Foods!


    Stock Up On Your Favourtie Ontario Cheeses at 100km Foods!

    We really have some of the world's best cheeses here in Ontario and this article just scratches the surface of all  the incredible local cheese makers! 

    Try these local Ontario cheeses for yourself available on 100km Foods!

    Write a comment Close