Oxford County’s Cheese Trail

Cheesemaking Then and Now…

At its peak, in the 1800s there were 98 separate cheese factories in Oxford County. The first cheese factory in Upper Canada was at Ingersoll, and was owned and operated by James Harris beginning in 1840. He authored the famous “mammoth cheese” which weighed as much as five cows. It traveled to the New York State Fair and then was shipped to the Queen in England. Harris’ stately family home is now the upscale Elm Hurst Inn and Spa restaurant portion of the property.

The first cooperative cheese factory in Upper Canada was also in Oxford, and was founded in 1864 in the Norwich area. Today there are 3 artisinal cheesemakers in Oxford … Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Norwich township, Local Dairy Products in Ingersoll at the plant where the famous Ingersoll brand of cheese was originally made, and Bright Cheese and Butter Manufacturing just outside Bright. Crossroad Farms’ Sheep Gouda and Quality Sheep Milk’s Greek feta and cheddar are 2 local sheep milk producers. Two local goat dairy farms also have their milk converted into delicious goat cheeses. Large corporate cheesemakers and processors such as Saputo and The Bright Cheese House call Oxford County home, too. After all, this is Canada’s dairy capital.