Empire Cheese and Butter Co-op
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Monday - Saturday
8:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:30 am-5:00 pm
9:30 am-5:30 pm
9:30 am-5:00 pm
Empire Cheese and Butter Co-op had a very successful year at the 2014 Royal Winter Fair. Winning two - 1st place ribbons, four - 2nds's and two - 3rd's, demonstrates Empire's level of quality and consistency achieved over a hundred-year-old tradition for making fine cheeses.
Fresh curd, cheddar cheese and specialty flavoured cheeses are made five or six days per week, and sold in our factory outlet store and various outlets around Central and Eastern Ontario.
The first Empire Cheese Factory was built in the late 1870s on the farm of John Haig, who was the first cheese maker. The second cheese factory was built just to the east of the present factory and some of the cheese makers in that plant were Tom Naylor, Charles Stephens, Jack Kitchen, Bob Maybee, and Les Shillinglaw.
In the fall of 1952 the Kimberley Cheese Factory burned and in 1953 Empire and Kimberley amalgamated forming the current Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op. In the same year, the current cheese factory was built with Les Shillinglaw as the cheese maker. Don Pollock followed Les Shillinglaw. The current cheese maker is Mark Erwin.
Today, the Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant left in Northumberland County and the first one east of Toronto.
We are HACCP registered, the top of the heap in food-quality standards. Empire Cheese is sold through the factory store and various outlets between Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area.
Empire Cheese is owned by local dairy farmers, who hold an election each year to vote in a board of directors to run the factory. At Empire, our cheese is made in the traditional way in open-style vats, which in our opinion, gives the cheese and curd a better flavour. We use no additives to boost production and there are no flavours added to our Cheddar. The cheese is all natural, with no preservatives added. The cheese is then vacuum-packed in our modern facilities to preserve the special flavour.
Empire Cheese uses a true mix of tradition and modern technology to give customers a better product. Empire Cheese Factory Store offers a wide selection of gift baskets suitable for friends, relatives and that after-dinner speaker at your club. Our baskets include a variety of our famous cheeses complemented with high-quality biscuits, jams, honey, candy, etc. We offer a wide range of cheeses in a range of sizes: our cheddars range from extra mild, which is a week to two weeks old to five year old. Our mozzarella's come in numerous flavours such as onion, garlic, red chillies (hot), black pepper, horseradish, caraway, salsa, jalapeno (hot), and jalapeno and red chillies (very hot). We also carry numerous other kinds and flavours of specialty cheeses.
Open seven days per week, our factory store offers fresh curd, aged cheddar and a variety of other local products from the area. Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream is served during the summer months.
Bus Tour Groups are welcome. Please call ahead so we can be ready with some samples.
Store hours: Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.