About the Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op

Empire Cheese ~ a 135 year old tradition

The first Empire Cheese Factory was built in the late 1870s on the farm of John Haig who was the first cheesemaker.

The second cheese factory was built just to the east of the present factory. Some of the cheese makers in that plant were Tom Naylor, Charles Stephens, Jack Kitchen, Bob Maybee, and Les Shillinglaw.

In the fall of 1952 the Kimberley Cheese Factory burned and in 1953 Empire and Kimberley amalgamated forming the current Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op. That same year, the current cheese factory was built with Les Shillinglaw as the cheese maker.

Les was followed by Don Pollock. Our current cheese maker is Mark Erwin.

Empire Cheese Today

Today, the Empire Cheese & Butter Co-op is the only cheese manufacturing plant operating in Northumberland County and the first one east of Toronto! We are now HACCP registered, the top of the heap in food quality standards !

The majority of Empire Cheese is sold through our factory store and various outlets in the Peterborough, Lindsay, Oshawa, Cobourg, Stouffville, Orono, Port Perry, Markham, Merrickville, Uxbridge, Burlington Farmers’ Market and surrounding areas.

Empire Cheese is owned by local dairy farmers who hold an election each year to vote in a Board of Directors to run the factory.

At Empire, our cheese is made in the traditional way in open-style vats which in our opinion gives the cheese and curd a better flavour. We use no additives to boost production and there are no flavours added to our Cheddar. It is all natual, with no preservatives added.

The cheese is vacuum-packed in our modern facilities to preserve the special flavour. A true mix of tradition and modern technology to give our customers the best product possible.

Empire Cheese Factory offers a wide selection of gift baskets suitable for friends, relatives and that after-dinner speaker at your club. Our baskets include a variety of our famous cheeses complemented with high-quality biscuits, jams, honey, candy and more.

Bus Tour Groups are welcome! Please call ahead so we can be ready with some samples!