Thornloe in Northern Ontario makes Grand Champion butter

Second-generation dairy farmer Steve Runnulls shown in pasture with one of the Holstein cows on his farm in the heart of the Temiskaming Valley. Hard to believe that such lush green pastures can be found in Northern Ontario, some 500 kilometres north of Toronto.

It never ceases to amaze how far north in Ontario dairy farming and cheesemaking prosper. Now comes news that Thornloe Grass Fed Butter has received the Grand Champion Award in the butter division at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The taste is simply stunning. Once you’ve tasted Thornloe Grass Fed Butter, regular butter tastes flat.

Farmer-owned Thornloe Cheese near New Liskeard—some 500 km north of Toronto—introduced grass-fed butter products in salted and unsalted formats in the summer to meet the growing demand for grass-fed dairy products.

Grass-fed cheeses were introduced by Thornloe in 2017.

“The company has worked with local farmers who pasture cows when weather permits and feed a grass-based diet for the rest of the year to produce butter and cheeses with the health benefits derived from elevated levels of omega-3 associated with grass-fed diets,” says Thornloe Cheese general manager Rhonda Wood. “This is an incredible achievement for Thornloe, their farmer-owners, and the Northeastern Ontario farming region.“

In the Royal Winter competition, says Pamela Hamel, Thornloe brand ambassador, “butter is judged on flavour, texture, incorporation of moisture, color and salt or packaging. We believe our win in the Innovation Category, and our salted as a second in this class is a testament to the quality of the grass-fed feeding and farming standards developed by the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. The high score in this category, enabled the butter to move to the top of all classes, earning the Grand Champion Award.”

“Happy cows, pasture-grazing in Northern Ontario, how can it not be good?”

Fourteen farms supply milk to Thornloe from the northeast region of Ontario, with project roots in Temiskaming, hence, the name of the butter, Temiskaming Valley Butter. The region is located 500 km north of Toronto, in the clay belt region known for its farming culture.

Thornloe Grass Fed Butter received the Grand Champion Award in the butter division at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Thornloe Grass Fed Butter and Cheeses are available through cheese shops, grocery stores and foodservice providers.

Thornloe Cheese Inc. is a wholly farmer-owned, artisanal cheese producer. It has earned several national awards and a reputation for quality cheese and creamery products for more than 75 years. Its most popular products include traditional cheddars, poutine curds, fine cheeses and the iconic blue cheese named Devil’s Rock.


Thornloe is farmer owned, a subsidiary of EASTGEN, a farmer owned company located in the Guelph region.

In 2017, Thornloe won the Food in Canada community and industry leadership award for its role in the innovation and collaboration bringing to market Canada’s first verified grass-fed feed and pasturing standards.