Cheeseworks in works for farmland

Golden Ears Cheeseworks Ltd. set to open in summer.

Lynn Davison

Lynn Davison

In a few months, hungry eastbound Maple Ridge commuters will be able to pull in to Golden Ears Cheeseworks off 128th Avenue and pick up a couple kilos of cheddar, gouda, havarti or even creamy fromage frais, maybe pick up some locally grown veggies, some beer or wine, and come home and enjoy a local meal, from well within the 100-mile diet radius.

The cheese that will be sold in the new building, now underway on the lush farmland, just west of 224th Street, couldn’t be more local.

It will be made on site under the supervision of Emma and Jenna Davison and their mom and dad, Kerry and Lynn.

Kerry’s older brother will be supplying the milk from the 85 Jersey cows from his farm next door, a stone’s throw away from the cheese factory.

While Emma will handle the business and marketing, Jenna and Lynn will do the actual cheese making in a room with a window so customers can see them do their craft.

“This is where the magic happens. We’ll have racks and racks,” Emma said during a tour.

With certain cheeses requiring certain room temperatures, the 5,500-sq.-foot building will have separate rooms in order to ensure optimum curing conditions.

The project has been a few years in the making, said Kerry, whose full-time job is teaching heating, ventilation and air conditioning in Langley. Opening day is expected in June.

It’s also been a costly one, hitting about a million dollars. Fire and sprinkler alarm systems and a failed attempt to use geothermal power pushed up costs.

Since the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge in 2009, more traffic, all of them potential customers, is flowing on to 128th Avenue, bringing volume to about 5,300 vehicles a day.

“The location is a huge plus now that it’s joined the Abernethy Connector to the Golden Ears Bridge. It just made fantastic sense to do this value-added thing.

“Since that bridge opened, you can’t believe how busy that got.”

While Golden Ears expects to sell its products to other local retailers, they plan on selling 75 per cent of their produce on site.

In addition to the employee suites on the second storey, the Golden Ears Cheeseworks will have a bed and breakfast suite for tourists who want the farm experience.