Southern Alberta cheese makers win national awards

More awards for people who farm and produce food in southern Alberta . Two cheese producers in the Lethbridge area topped their categories at the Canadian Cheese Awards in southern Ontario.

Noble Meadows Farm, which produces plain, soft goat cheese, was named the farmstead cheese in Canada while Crystal Springs Cheese northwest of Lethbridge won for producing the best goat milk feta cheese.

“It means a lot,” said Evert Beyer, owner of Crystal Springs Cheese. “In the start we try to do the best, we got our recipe and we refined it, got it the way we wanted it. It’s a really good thing that people recognize you have a good product.’

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The Beyers began producing cheese after spending a number of years in the dairy industry. Their company also makes feta cheese from cows milk.

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“Over the last nine years we’ve been fine-tuning it,” said cheese maker Jabob Beyer. “We start off with fresh milk from the dairy next door and we add our ingredients and then pasteurize the milk and then within a few hours we have our cheese.”

Noble Meadows Farms, near Nobleford started producing cheese four years ago. Prior to that, the farm had been producing and selling goat milk.

Noble Meadows Farms won the best farmstead cheese and was a finalist in plain soft goat cheese, best goat cheese and the best Alberta competitions.

Carolyn Van Driesten, a partner in the farm said, “We make soft goat cheese which is the one that won the award and we flavour some of that, so we do five or six different flavours. We make feta, gouda, cheddar and more.”

There are good markets for cheese produced in southern Alberta. Crystal Springs Cheese sells it at the Wooden Shoe in Lethbridge and exports to Quebec and other provinces. Noble Meadows Farms sells cheese through Calgary Co-Op stores and outlets, at farmers markets, and will soon be selling through the London Road Market in Lethbridge.

Old West Ranch at Mountain Views was a finalist in the Alberta regional awards. The only other Alberta finalist was from Sylvan Lake.

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