Oxford County Business Success Stories:
Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese
Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese produces Swiss quality cheeses crafted right here in Oxford County.
Using only milk from the third generation family dairy farm, Friesvale Farms, located right next door, Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese hand makes 3 different varieties of lesser-known Swiss type cheeses.
The cheese is made in small batches using hands-on traditional cheese making practices. This ensures that each batch is carefully guided to be the best cheese possible and bears the mark of cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein.
In addition to making cheese, Gunn’s Hill takes pride in educating its consumers about how the cheese is made, where the milk comes from, and about the farm and animals that produce the milk used to make the cheese. To this end Ysselstein has set up a small cheese shoppe at the plant where customers can see the entire production area through large windows and watch a short video about how cheese is made. School and group tours of the cheese plant, as well as a more in depth ‘Cheesemaker for a Day’ program where a group will actually get to try making cheese, are also offered.
Ysselstein explains several factors that made Oxford County the perfect fit for Gunn’s Hill:
“First, Oxford County is the Dairy Capital of Canada and has a long tradition of producing cheese which has unfortunately faded but we are working to bring it back. Second, Oxford is closely located to the largest market for specialty cheese in Canada, the GTA. Third, there is something about the rolling hills and green country side that make it an attractive place to visit and learn about agriculture. Last there is great work ethic among the residents here which is very important in finding great employees.”
When asked about how business is going, Ysselstein is pleased and optimistic about the future:
“My business is growing. I've been making cheese for 10 months now and selling for about a half a year. Sales are increasing every month, and this is very encouraging. We still have lots of work to do getting the cheese further out, but this has been planned for and we knew it would take time. Overall I am very happy with how things are moving along right now.”
Click here to view last year’s Innovation Oxford tour of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese and interview with Shep Ysselstein.