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Local Vendor Spotlight: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters

COVID-19 is disrupting all aspects of our food system, while revealing its strengths and its weaknesses. At SPUD, this health crisis has elevated our responsibility as food providers in addition to boosting our faith in, and our gratitude for, our hard-working, local food producers. 

 

We have talked about food security previously, and now it is time to shine some light on our amazing vendors. Meet Emma from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters.

 

About Golden Ears Cheeseworks Ltd.

 

Based in Maple Ridge, BC, Emma and her sister started their small operation in 2011. In the beginning, they imagined their business would be mostly in their retail store, however their main customers in the past few years have been farmers markets, restaurants, hotels, and some “ma’ and pa’ retail shops”.

 

They get high quality milk from a Jersey cow herd, located next door and they process roughly 3,000-6,000 litres a week! They create an amazing variety of fresh and aged cheeses, as well as butter.

 

How COVID-19 has impacted their businesses

 

Most of Golden Ears Cheeseworks’ customers have been forced to close, which has dramatically impacted how Emma’s team makes their products. She says that their hard cheese sales have gone down which directly affects their ability to make fresh cheese and butter, as these products are “bonuses” of hard cheese production.

 

Emma says they are adapting every day to their new reality, including turning their retail store into a temporary warehouse and packing floor. Unfortunately, Emma had to let go of most of their staff due to the major loss of customers, however she hopes they can slowly re-hire them as they ramp up their operations with SPUD.ca and their own online ordering service.

 

What ways can you help?

 

Buy hard cheese! This will enable Golden Ears Cheeseworks to produce more butter and fresh cheeses. Further, Emma shares a reminder to support good cheese over poor quality alternatives. Emma says that their cheese is “healthy, traditional and natural!”.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Emma says her staff are taking a really negative time and are channeling it into action and positive attitudes. She says, “We are getting some comments that if we can’t operate like we used to, we should just stop and close our doors. I say, yes one hundred percent it would be easier and cheaper to stop making cheese, and to lay off the entire team, but that’s not the point. Success never comes easy. The fact is, we can provide jobs for people and food to bring home to the table. That is more important than stopping our operations and having our team worry about paying rent…”.

 

Emma and the entire team are grateful for the support of their community and feel proud to represent the local food system.

 

Michelle Austin

Michelle is SPUD's Sustainability Lead. She believes a sustainable food system is the key to creating a environmentally-friendly and just world. You can often find her in the mountains biking, hiking or skiing!

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