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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited, New Hamburg, Ontario

Southwestern Ontario is sprinkled heavily with various food venues well worth the visit.  These include roadside stands, orchards, mushroom farms, farmer's markets, vineyards, fisheries and cheese factories.  At one time the large commercial food manufacturing  plants like Dare, McCormick's and Libby's had little factory outlets on site where both their employees and the general public could get fabulous deals on foods produced at the plant.  While some of the factory outlets are no more, other factories like the cheese factories and some chicken processing plants (eg. Maple Lodge Farms) still have small on site shops open to the general public.  During a recent visit to the kids in the GTA, we made a side trip to Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited.

Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited building
Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited is located at 29 Bleams Road East in New Hamburg, Ontario.  This is a family owned and operated business.  It was established in 1879 by the Langenegger family.  There are currently fourth and fifth generation family members working within the business that continues to manufacture cheese the same was as it was when the business was first established.  The building itself is quite large but that is because the cheese is being manufactured on site using Ontario milk.  Unlike some cheese factories, there is no viewing window in the retain store to see the cheese being made but you can take a virtual photo tour of their cheese making process on their website.

selection board at Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited
The on site retail stores of most food manufacturing factories have two things in common.  They are small, bordering on tiny and they are not fancy.  In most cases they have enough room behind the counter for one or two wait staff and room for about four customers on the other side of the counter.  Signage is generally simple, often hand written.  The staff is generally very friendly and knowledgeable about their product.

The retail outlet at Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited is small and well organized.  A neatly organized, easy to read price list hangs on the wall facing you as you enter the store.  The price is per pound (lb) not kilograms.  The counter is simply a raised closed front counter without a display where the cheese is cut, weighed and wrapped.  The staff will cut and wrap you cheese as desired, either chunk or sliced.  Our grandkids love going to this cheese factory because they always get a free sample of cheese.  

a display case at Oak Grove Cheese Factory Limited
The cheese is arranged in neatly lined rows of block cheese.  Cheeses available are:  Borgonzola, brick, brie, caraway, cheddar (medium, extra old), Swiss, Colby, cook cheese (available fall to spring), havarti (plain, dill), hot pepper, Limburger, marble, Monterrey jack, mozzarella, new bra, onion & garlic, Parmesan, Romano, cheese curd, smoked old cheddar and black pepper.  They also offer cheese trays, cheese balls and gift baskets.

We had a lot of fun making our cheese choices.  Our grandkids were beyond excited.  This is one of their favourite places to visit!  I definitely share their excitement.  All that cheese just gets the creative culinary juices flowing.  Of course I overspent a bit but this is high quality cheese well worth that little extra cost!

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