Even though it was up against Canadian cheese giant Agropur, Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op won two firsts, two seconds and two thirds in the cheddar competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair—the best showing by an artisan producer. In fact, Empire’s Mild Cheddar was named Reserve Grand Champion in the judging, runner-up to Agropur Grand Cheddar 2 Year.
The Campbellford, Ontario, cheese producer, where Mark Erwin is the cheesemaker, took the following honours:
- Empire Mild Cheddar – Reserve Grand Champion
- Empire Mild Cheddar – First in class, Mild Cheddar 2-4 months
- Empire Extra Mature Cheddar – First in class, Extra Mature Cheddar
- Empire Medium Cheddar – Second in class, Medium Cheddar 6-8 months
- Empire Extra Mild Cheddar – Second in class, Extra Mild Cheddar 1-2 months
- Empire Marble Cheddar – Third in class, Marble Cheddar any age
- Empire Stilton Shaped Cheddar – Third in class, Stilton Shapped Cheddar.
Maple Dale Cheese of Plainfield, Ontario, won the following:
- Maple Dale Stilton Shaped Cheddar – Second in class, Stilton Shapped Cheddar
- Maple Dale 2 year – Third in class, Extra Mature Cheddar.
Ivanhoe Cheese of Madoc, Ontario, won second in the Extra Mature Cheddar class with Ivanhoe Classic Cheddar made May 15, 2011.
Four of the seven cheddar classes were won by Agropur, one of Canada’s biggest co-operatives owned by 3,400 dairy farmers. Among its 15 dairy divisions is Oka, Canada’s iconic cheese brand that dates back to 1893 when Trappists made it.