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Fifth Town Cheese Company president steps down

Petra Kassun Mutch

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company founder and co-owner Petra Kassun Mutch has stepped down as president “for personal reasons” effective Wednesday, Aug. 17 but remains a shareholder.

But she is in no way planning on slowing down.

“Fifth Town, for me, was not just about cheese,” she said. “It was also a wonderful opportunity to apply what I had learned so far in life and business, to the design and launch of a brand new, forward-looking, social purpose enterprise with an emphasis on sustainability. So, while Fifth Town has been the centre of my professional life over the past seven years, I plan to continue to develop my strong interest in social purpose enterprise design and management because I believe that achieving social goals while generating a reasonable return for investors are entirely possible—and perhaps even necessary.”

Petra Kassun-Mutch amid goats that produce milk for Fifth Town.

To ensure operations continue without interruption, the co-owners have appointed Christine M. Legein as interim president. Legein is currently vice-president of CCC Investment Banking – a leading mid-market Canadian investment bank with a specialization in the food processing industry.
Legein has almost 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Prior to her career in financial advisory and investment banking, she served in different executive roles in corporate development and operations at such market leaders as Ault Foods Limited and John Labatt Limited.

The Board of Directors has also retained CCC Investment Banking to evaluate the company’s strategic options to leverage Fifth Town’s cheese­making expertise and brand in order to drive the next phase of the company’s growth.

The Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company was founded by Petra Kassun Mutch in 2004. She has been co-director, president and co-owner.  After several years in design and development, construction began 2007 and the dairy opened June 2008 with five employees and three farms as suppliers. Since, Fifth Town has grown to more than 16 employees with seven farm suppliers, and generates $1.5M in revenues annually.

The company was designed from the outset as a social purpose enterprise with governing values focused on leadership in sustainable enterprise management, local community contributions, and the triple bottom line. Approximately 93 per cent of the money spent to make, market and distribute its products stayed in the community.

Fifth Town has won more than 35 prestigious national and international awards including Grand Champion on several occasions for its unique cave-aged goat, sheep and cow milk cheeses. It recently took five of 21 awards given to Ontario dairies at the American Cheese Society Competition held in Montreal last weekend. In 2009, Fifth Town received the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation. It is Canada’s only Platinum LEED manufacturing facility and the only Platinum LEED dairy in the world.  It has also received many awards for a
variety of initiatives including sustainable enterprise management, marketing, innovation, and architecture. Fifth Town is Canada’s 8th B Corporation and achieved highest score at time of certification.

“The staff at Fifth Town is amazing as are our producers and all our customers,” Kassun Mutch says. “The local community has also been a huge contributor to our success. Fifth Town’s current position in the market could not have been achieved without them. I am confident that with the continued support of all our constituents, Fifth Town will continue to grow and broaden its reach an impact over the years to come.”

Filed Under: Arts & CultureLocal News

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  1. I was first introduced to Fifth Town through a tour by Quinte Sustainability in 2010. Since then, I have enjoyed the products and have faithfully passed along the name and location to any of my out-of-town visitors. Good luck in future endeavors. Will we continue to enjoy your products.

  2. Lawrence Cornett says:

    Petra has revived and re-invented the cheese-making industry in the County. As well, she’s taught me how to make cheese through a ‘hands-on’ session at the Picton branch of the PEC library.
    Raise a wine glass; and a cheese plate–to Petra!

  3. @amwaters says:

    Since first learning about Fifth Town, I have been following with interest to get to know all the good things happening there. It was clear that Petra has been a force, not only at Fifth Town, but as a leader in the community. I was thrilled to bits to have her as tour guide at Fifth Town at one of the Great Canadian Cheese Festival events. Lucky for us, Fifth Town cheese is readily available in Ottawa. Congratulations Petra on what you have accomplished in PEC and all the best in your future endeavours.

  4. Dino says:

    Petra, Sonja and I wish you all the best in your new ventures. It was a pleasure starting out Fifth Town with you as the first local dairy goat milk producer. As you know, we are taking on new ventures ourselves… onward and upward!

  5. Fifth Town, what can anyone say that doesn’t have the words amazing, fabulous, delicious and local. Congratulations to Petra for creating a company that everyone in “the County” can be proud of. Good luck in every venture you enter, Petra we know that all will be a success. “a little cheesie I know” but we are proud of you! Sue & Pat

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