'Dairy is a big thing around here': Oxford County cheese makers boast national dairy title
Oxford County is the dairy capital of Canada, with the region home to dozens of farms and artisan cheese makers.
At Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese near Woodstock, the owners use milk from their family dairy farm to produce specialty cheese with a Swiss-style focus.
"Oxford County would be the dairy capital of Canada. We make more milk in this county than any other county in the country," said co-owner Shep Ysselstein.
"There's a number of cheese factories on the trail and also a number of other locations that use cheese in their restaurants or selling cheese in the shops and some other unique places that are somehow tied to cheese as well."
Ysselstein said the farm milks about 110 cows, which produces 3,000 litres per day. That works out to about 300 kilograms of cheese made at Gunn's Hill each daily.
"Dairy is a big thing around here," he said. "It's an important part of the local economy for Oxford County and part of the local culture."
In nearby Wilmot Township, Mountainoak Cheese, it's a lengthy process to produce their creamy Gouda.
Cheesemaker Adam Van Bergeijk says he's continuing traditions of the craft after immigrating to Canada 25 years ago.
"We care from working the soil, planting the seed, harvesting the crop, preparing it for later on, feeding the cows, looking after the cows," he said. "It's a whole concept from planting the seed to having cheese on the shelf."