Built on a proud history beginning in the late 1870’s, today the Empire Cheese Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County, and the first one east of Toronto. Empire cheese is sold through their factory store and various outlets throughout the area.
Store manager Madison Simmons explains that Empire Cheese is owned by local dairy farmers, who hold an election each year to vote in a Board of Directors to run the factory.
Simmons also describes the process by which Empire Cheese has achieved its success, saying, “Our cheese is made in the traditional way in open-style vats. In our opinion this gives our cheese and curd a better flavour. No production-boosting additives are used, and no flavours are added to our Cheddar. It is all-natural, with no preservatives added.”
Empire Cheese has achieved some distinctive recognition, earning multiple awards at the Royal Winter Fair, British Empire Cheese Show and the Quinte Exhibition, but what makes them famous is their curd. Fresh curd is available every day except Sunday – warm and squeaky and oh-so delicious! Try one of their flavoured varieties for a little added enjoyment.
Looking to the future, Simmons says they have just installed a new milk silo, which will allow them to increase their volume of production. She adds, “all our milk comes from local producers, and we are very proud of that.”
Empire Cheese Factory offers a wide selection of gift baskets which include a variety of their famous cheeses, complemented with high-quality biscuits, jams, honey, candy and more.
Bus tour groups are welcome, and Simmons suggests that a call ahead will ensure they can be ready with some samples.
If you are putting together a day-tripping route this fall, do yourself a big favour and add the Empire Cheese Co-op to the itinerary…and don’t forget the curds!
Empire Cheese Co-op
1120 County Rd. 8, Campbellford ON K0L 1L0
www.empirecheese.ca or follow them on Facebook