Gouda Going, Thunder Oak!
By Bobbi Henderson
Regular customers of Thunder Oak Cheese Farm watched with interest and anticipation as the new location was being built on Boundary Drive during the summer months. The Cheese Farm, as it is commonly known, opened in 1995 and the new location, which opened in mid-September, is a testament to the farm’s growth.
“We needed more space to meet our demands,” says sixth-generation cheese-maker extraordinaire Walter Schep. Demand for their gouda cheese continues to grow as customers become addicted. Their list of retail locations expands, and local restaurants rely on the cheese as a staple ingredient in their fare. All of this has caused a decline in supply for out-of-town distributors who have high demands for the award-winning cheese—a problem the new building will remedy by having the potential to triple production (the farm currently ages a whopping three tonnes at a time!).
“There is a real trend to eat local, and that’s great,” says Schep. “But with so many restaurants offering our cheese, it’s been difficult to keep up, especially to distributors down east.” Sought after from near and far for its creamy texture and delicious taste, the gouda is available in more than a dozen enticing flavours, such as jalapeño, cumin, and roasted red pepper. The oh-so-yummy cheese is free of preservatives and artificial colours, and is made fresh from the milk of the Schep family cows.
The new location is complete with a charming café that seats 15, with plans to be in full operation next spring offering soups, sandwiches, and more. To add to your shopping experience, they also sell a variety of Dutch imports and local products, such as Brule Creek flour and goods, fresh honey, and delectable treats from The Chocolate Cow. “We’d like to increase the amount of local goods we carry in the future as well,” says Schep.
Thunder Oak Cheese Farm is located on Boundary Drive, just west of Highway 61. The shop is open Monday to Saturday, from 9 am–5 pm. Visit cheesefarm.ca for more info.