Bill West of Stirling Creamery won the The William C. West Memorial Trophy – Stirling Creamery Award, awarded to the buttermaker with the highest scoring butter on exhibition at this year’s British Empire Cheese Show on Thursday December 2. Stirling Creamery Unsalted Butter won with 98.65 points.
The West family has been in the manufacturing end of the dairy industry since the late 19th century. Miss Annie Elevier exhibited cheese at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and won the gold medal for her efforts. Her ornate certificate and large wooden cheese barrel are in the Dairy Building at the Hastings County Museum of Agricultural Heritage in Stirling. She was only 24 year old at the time and the cheesemaker at Clydesdale factory near Apsley, in Chandos Township. Annie married John West and taught him, and their three sons, the cheesemaking trade. The eldest of these sons, William, became a certified cheesemaker in 1916 and operated plants in Springbrook, Bonarlaw, and Stockdale. He married Elizabeth Tanner of Rawdon Township, and in 1925, they moved to Stirling where Willam became the proprieter of the Stirling Creamery, and began making butter.
The old Stirling Creamery had one churn and two pasteurizers powered by steam, from burning slab wood and coal. In 1933, the original structure was torn down and a new plant erected in its place. William and Elizabeth’s three sons, Harold, Clare and Russell, all worked in the Creamery. A new company was formed in 1954, as the generations changed, and more changes took place over the next thirty years.
Clare’s two sons, Bob and Dick, eventually took over the business in the 1980s. Dick died in 2002, and Bob became the sole owner. In 2006 The Stirling Creamery was purchased by Butterball® Farms Inc. a long established dairy company from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
You can buy Stirling Butter, Hastings Whey Butter, Goat’s Milk Butter and Unsalted Butter at the Stirling Creamery on 1 Front Street, Stirling, Ontario K0K 3E0. Phone 613.395.3350, Fax 613.395.1046 or contact Bill West, General Manager bill.wstirlingcreamery.com
Top photo: Harvest Hastings board member, Jenny Cook of Knuckle Down Farm, along with Stone Soup coordinator Michele Vindum of Plainfield Heritage