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When it comes to buying local, it is about supporting our shared values and having a direct positive effect on the quality of life in our local communities.
We know that choosing local means we are supporting businesses and families in our own communities, reducing our carbon footprint and investing in a sustainable local economy and food system. It’s estimated that for every $1 spent on local food, goods and services, an average of 68 cents stays within the community. By comparison, just 43 cents remain in the community on non-local purchases.
What we may not think about as often is that when it comes to quality and craft, buying local agri-foods is an easy habit to embrace. Local terroir adds unique characteristics to foods, and artisan recipes and methods perfect it. So, instead of giving up fine foods when you choose local, you’re actually opening up your world and your palate to ideal quality, agricultural methods and craft.
But how do you know if it’s made in Ontario?
Look for local cheese at the grocery store. If you don’t see it, ask for it.
Most grocery stores carry a variety of Ontario cheeses (look at the deli aisle/counter!), and some separate them out to help consumers find and support local cheesemakers. You can easily find out which cheeses are made locally by asking store staff or simply by turning over the pack to read the origin.
In Canada, origin is a mandatory component of food package labelling. All pre-packaged foods must include the full name and address of the company responsible for the product, and all foods made outside of Canada must be labelled as an imported product. So, you’re guaranteed to find the origin of cheese on every package.
Visit your local cheesemonger and ask for local.
There are many independent cheese shops across Ontario, carrying a dizzying array of cheeses. Most cheese shops will carry local cheeses and will be happy to point them out to you while recommending their favourites.
Go to the source.
Many cheesemakers in Ontario operate retail stores selling their complete line of cheeses and other dairy products. Not only is this the absolute best way to get the full “cheese experience”, it’s a memorable foodie road trip. Like wine, many fine cheeses can be tough to track down at grocery stores.
Many Ontario cheesemakers have gone the extra mile to make their customers experience a great one, from providing facility and/or farm tours, tastings, seasonal ice cream parlours, and the widest selection possible of their products.
Ontario is home to over 20 artisan cheese shops! Check out the Discover Ontario Cheese map to help you get the most out of your trip. Afterall, the only thing better than one cheese shop full of goodies is two or even three?!?
A visit to cheesemakers in your region will expand your cheese knowledge and horizons forever.
Even better, many cheesemakers now offer delivery direct to your home. This is an amazing way to experiences regional cheeses and expand local connections beyond your immediate community.