With a successful twenty year run in the restaurant business, the success of cookbook “Flavours of Prince Edward Island” and a stint in teaching at the Culinary Institute of Canada (CIC), Jeff was becoming more open to the idea of leaving the restaurant world to explore other opportunities in the food business. Making artisanal cheese captured his imagination. He started doing some research about what kinds of cheeses he might produce and what was involved in the start-up of such a business.
While pursuing the idea, Jeff had heard a rumour that the Cheeselady, Martina TerBeek, was considering retirement. The Cheeselady was the only artisanal cheese business on Prince Edward Island. The Cheeseladys Gouda Shop had been in operation for the past twenty-five years and Jeff had been buying cheese from her for the past twenty years. He contacted Martina in the spring of 2011 and although she said she had been thinking about it, she had not yet made a decision. She told him to check back and he did- a few more times.
In November 2012, Jeff was offered another contract to teach nights at the Culinary Institute of Canada. Having a young family and not wanting to commit to nights, he decided this was his chance to pursue his cheese business once and for all. He decided to contact Martina one last time and had resolved to himself that if she did not agree to sell, he would start his own business. Needless to say, Martina finally said yes and the decision made itself!
Next came the hard part- business plan, financing …but come April 2013, business plan complete and financing in the works, Jeff began his Apprenticeship with cheesemaster, Martina Ter Beek.
Jeff had taken a cheese making course in the summer of 2012 with Ruth Claussen from Monteforte Dairy, Stratford, Ontario and Art Hill from the University of Guelph. In Jeff’s discussions with Ruth, she explained how she sold “cheese futures” to finance the building of her dairy. This was a crowd-funding idea whereby people invest in your business and receive cheese in return. Jeff decided to try that concept in the local market and has found it to be successful. Each cheese future is $1,000 up front and for the next five years the buyer receives twelve kilograms of assorted cheese per year. Jeff first launched the cheese futures on Facebook and sold one the first night! The initial goal is to sell fifty and that target has almost been reached.
Glasgow Glen Farm is the name of the new business and is PEI’s only artisanal cheese maker. Presently, the business operates out of The Cheeseladys Gouda shop in North Winsloe, PEI. Construction on a new facility in New Glasgow has begun. Located on a picturesque 12-acre lot, the facility will feature stunning views of the Hunter River and Rustico Bay. Glasgow Glen will continue to produce Cheeseladys Gouda and will introduce another 3-4 varieties of cheese, including feta and blue. The facility will house a wood fired oven to produce a variety of breads to go with the cheese. This location in the heart of PEI’s North Shore will be a perfect stop for locals and visitors!
Glasgow Glen Farm is a family business: Jeff is the CEO; his wife, Grace, looks after sales and marketing and will manage the front-of-the house operations in the new facility; children, Finn and Molly, have already taken an active role in helping at the shop; Jeff’s brother in law, Donald Younie, is the assistant cheesemaker and right-hand man as far as production goes; Grace’s mother, Colleen Younie, does the accounting and manages the financial aspects of the business. Glasgow Glen is proud to be a family business!
Since taking over the business, Glasgow Glen has introduced several new cheeses including Caraway, Smoked Peppercorn and Pizza- a flavour that has been very popular with the young folks!
People ask Jeff why he chose to make cheese. Jeff has always had a love for cheese and most recently taught cheese making at the Culinary Institute of Canada. He is fascinated with the simple and magical process of making cheese.