All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Friday, February 23rd, 2024

Cheese – that was good!

Newest cheeses, oldest cheeses, award-winning cheeses and everything that goes with cheese attracted 4,000 visitors to the third annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival held at the Picton fairgrounds on the weekend.

More than 125 different types of cheese from across the nation were on site  – from wine and ciders to sausages, to crackers, chocolate and jellies. Georgs Kolesnikovs, festival founder, is pleased with how the event has grown and matured.

“The artisan foods – from the salami maker to the honey guy to the spiced salt and all the others – have really grown from 22 last year to three dozen vendors this year and that has really rounded out the show for us. Obviously cheese is the focus of the show and that’s why people come, but things ‘go with cheese’ and it’s rounded out for the consumer. You come in here and it’s a total smorgasbord of really good eats plus really good wine and really good beer and fantastic cider.”

Kolesnikovs made special mention of improvements to the municipality’s systems and procedures and stated specifically that working with Lisa Lindsay, the County’s new manager of community centres and events marketing,  made for smooth sailing like never before.

“The difference between the first two shows and this one has been night and day from first contact to today,” he said. “Right down to the little things, like when a garbage bag is put out, it’s taken away immediately. It sounds small but it’s important to keep the bugs away. This year, the garbage was taken away right away. We’re really happy with our dealings with the County this year.”

The County is no stranger to cheese as manufacturing started in 1867 at two factories – in Cherry Valley and Bloomfield. At the peak of the industry, the County had 30 cheese factories.

Cheese-Janice-HubbsJanice Hubbs, curator of the Ameliasburgh Library, was at the cheese festival and told visitors the story of John Hall, who started his cheese-making career at age 18 at the Massassaga Cheese Factory, as a helper for James Robinson.

“He received $2.50 per month. “He then worked for Inkerman Kember who was the cheese-maker for the Quinte Cheese Factory at Rednersville. He made cheese from 1909 to 1945 when he retired. For many years he was classed as top cheese-maker in Prince Edward County.

“At one time, while operating the Mountain View cheese factory, Mrs. Hall was his only helper, making 16 90-lb cheese per day. After his son Harold finished school, he was engaged as the main assistant until Mr. Hall retired. John Hall died in 1971.”

Hall won the Bank of Nova Scotia Trophy (in photo above) in making 100 per cent first grade cheese for three consecutive years.

Also notable in competitions held to award superior cheese making was James A. Mitchell who in 1907 as cheese maker for the Mountain View factory, he represented Canada at the Great Dublin Exhibition (1st Prize) and the London Exhibition. He also received honours at regional fairs, as did many other County cheese makers in the local industry’s heyday, Hubbs noted.

The longest operating cheese factory in Prince Edward County is the Black River Cheese Company, which was opened in 1901 by a number of South Marysburgh farmers and  continues operations today.




Filed Under: Arts & CultureLocal News

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  1. lincoln says:

    I think the best cheese is the tangy cheddar, from the U.S. that comes in the pressurized cans ! Just line up the crackers and lay it on . ummmm…

  2. fed up says:

    Okay. thanks. You are right about over processed and “junk” foods. The answer is an educated public. Good food at very low prices is available at farmers’ markets, etc., but many people either won’t make the effort, or don’t understand the difference. The cost to their health and our society as a whole is incalculable.

  3. Madis Pugi says:

    From The Kingston Cheese Lovers Society:

    Thanks to County Live for snapping the picture at the top of myself and The Pres, also known to some of us as The Big Cheese. It’s now a wonderful memory that we will take with us for years. Just an amazing day for the two of us and we had a lovely time taking photos with everyone in our full cheese tuxedos.

    My congratulations and up most kudos to the festival organizers for an incredible event this year. A special thanks from both the Pres and I to Georgs and his wife for always treating us like old friends coming back home. The two of you are great ambassadors for the area and we know how much heart and soul you put into the event. It is greatly appreciated and it really shows. Both of us spent the whole day there on Sunday, open to close and still wanted to stay on for hours. The lectures were just excellent and we thank Debbie Levy for her superb teaching skills and patience. Sorry we ate our classwork too early sometimes as it’s an occupational hazard. Your words just made us want to eat up the lesson. Just a fantastic job by those who run the event and we thank all those who put countless hours into making this such an impactful week-end. Our Society is proud to be “locals” to a great Canadian festival like this.

    Madis Pugi

    Vice-President, Kingston Cheese Lovers Society

  4. rdp says:

    Wasn’t talking about the food supply; I was talking about manufacturers and stores who support products like “cranberry cocktail” and processed cheese and other North American-made stuff the unfortunate public are either led to believe are good for them, or just can’t afford anything better. We gotta know what’s in our food, no matter where it comes from, which is what I meant by my comment.

  5. fed up says:

    Good to hear. I dispute your implied comment about our food supply. It is second to none in the world. However, as long as people are foolish enough to buy “cheap” food from off shore, (especially China) where Canadian and North American standards are completely unknown, problems are just waiting to happen. And, of course, our heavy importation of these goods threatens our own industry. Every time someone buys food from off shore, it constitutes an undermining of our own food industry. We must support our farmers, or suffer the consequences in the long term.

  6. Jan says:

    Now I’m trying to figure out what a “diary” animal is?

  7. rdp says:

    To clarify, Saturday admission was $40 (advance) for an adult, $15 for youth, $5 for kids. Sunday was $40 for an adult, kids free. A 2-day admission was total $55 for an adult. Yes, the price is prohibitive for a lot of people, local or otherwise. It would be good for the organizers to try to rectify that. Meanwhile, I thought I’d let you know what I got for my $55 over the two days. I got an opportunity to attend 4 free cheese tastings (8 cheeses each, generous portions) and a seminar to go with, an olive oil tasting and talk, a freezer pack, cheese picks, a wine glass (maybe I was supposed to give that back!) and 20 tickets that let me have 2 generous samples of beer, 4 samples of wine, a chocolate and sherry pairing, tons of cheese samples, all the chutney I could eat, various salad dressings on romaine, lots of jams and crackers, a lot of pickled veggies and crackers, cured meats, truffles, and more cheese, plus literature, good photo ops, meeting people from all over, learning new things, a conversation with the Slow Food spokesperson about supporting developing countries, lovely weather, friendly volunteers, a great stroll through Picton and a desire to come back for other events and spend my “tourist dollars” in PEC, and amazement that all that I ate came from hard-working, creative Canadian people across the country, without having to worry about large food companies and supermarkets that don’t give a crap about what we’re eating. It wasn’t just cheese; it was far more than that, and I came away a more knowledgeable, satiated-on-less, happy, conscientious person, believe it or not.

  8. fed up says:

    I don’t believe this event was ever intended for local people. It’s a promotional event aimed at tourists with money to spend. It doesn’t hold much interest for my family.

  9. Jan says:

    I wonder if Ms Hobson could explain the “great value for your buck”!! I understand the admission was over $50 per person. It appears this expression is open to interpretation depending upon your socioeconomic status in our society.

  10. David Currie says:

    The event was well put together once again the volunteers did an excellent job they were grate they did a gouda job they were very helpful in helping me and the others find the places that we were looking for. I loved the spread out of where everyone was from the curling club to the crystal palace to the tents outside. It was wonderful to see friends that i hadn’t seen for awhile and to try out the different types of jams, jellies, cheeses, beverages and pop corn. The thought of bringing in the diary animals was a brilliant idea, the lectures about the cheese gave me new ideas as how to teach my customers to really appreciate the cheeses even more.

    You folks have a really wonderful publication which i enjoy reading a lot and i just wanted to say thanks for taking the picture of Madis Pugi and i we’ll be making more trips out to Picton the community is beautiful! 🙂


    David Currie

  11. Sheila Hobson says:

    What a wonderful, organized event. I volunteered and was so impressed on what a great value for your buck, how well we were looked after and the positive comments from people all over the world who attended.
    Great Event.
    Sheila Hobson

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