About our farm:
Towering over our pastures is the magnificent Thomson Mountain range, and it’s alpine meadows and forested slopes maintain a sentinel over our dairy farm. We are situated in the heart of the Kootenays, on benchland above the Creston Valley, 10 minutes from the Idaho border and 4 hours from the Alberta border.
The careful management of our family run farm is one of the great satisfactions of our lives. We use no pesticides, GMO's or chemical fertilizer on the land. We nurture and replenish the soil through many sustainable management practices, including the application of composted manure from the farm and whey from the cheese making process. The health of our herd is maintained following organic practices, with no hormones being used. We are certified organic with Pacific Agricultural Certification Society and also belong to Kootenay Local Agricultural Society whose mandate is to foster local, sustainable agriculture.
We have endeavored to ensure that our cheese making facilities and processes are environmentally sustainable as well. Our fresh milk arrives in the cheese making vat via gravity fed pipes straight from the milk house. This gravity fed trip eliminates the carbon impact of transporting milk by truck before it is processed. Solar power provides 70% of the cheese plant's hot water, and heating water accounts for 90% of the plant's energy needs. Finally, the temperature of the aging caves is maintained through geo-thermal cooling. The cooling is achieved by circulating well water that is later used for irrigating pasture.
We milk approximately 80 cows, mostly Holstein but also some Swedish Red, Guernsey and Normande (a French cheese breed). It is from this single herd of unique milk producers that we create our unique cheese. Our cows are well loved, and though we may get stressed our cows never are! In the winter, all homegrown hay, silage and grain is fed in a barn where cow comfort is foremost. We graze our cows from April to October, and thecows are introduced to a fresh paddock of grass every 12 hours. It is when they are producing sweet nutrient dense milk from these lush summers pastures that most of our cheese is made.
About our cheese:
From gently managed fields, to gently treated cattle, our cheese-making process begins within a few hours of milking. Our recipes and labour intensive methods are carefully modeled after the tradition of French and Italian cheese-makers. Using a cone shaped cheese vat, which is the only one of its kind in Canada, we begin our unrushed make procedure. The fresh cheese is moved to carefully created aging caves. The caves are kept at the temperature of underground mountain water, and are designed to foster the development of a unique and complex flavour. During the aging process, the cheese wheels are turned and rubbed regularly to develop a natural rind. No herbs are used to hide its flavour and no preservatives simplify its aging process. When finished, the sweet subtle flavours of the pasture grass and clovers, the health of the soil, and the fresh Kootenay mountain air can be detected in this flavorful, complex, handcrafted mountain cheese.
Kootenay Alpine Cheese - From grass to cheese from Kootenay Alpine Cheese on Vimeo.