Jeff McCourt, our founder and chief cheesemaker, was already well-versed in the world of food when he began exploring the idea of building a cheese business.
With a successful twenty-year run in the restaurant business, co-authorship of the cookbook “Flavours of Prince Edward Island”, and a stint teaching at the Culinary Institute of Canada (CIC) to his name, Jeff wanted to try his hand at something different within the culinary world.
Making artisanal cheese captured his imagination. Jeff started doing researching the kinds of cheeses he might produce and what would e involved in the start-up of such a business.
While pursuing his idea, Jeff heard a rumour that PEI’s Cheeselady, Martina TerBeek, was considering retirement. The Cheeselady was the only artisanal cheese business on the island at the time and her Gouda shop had been in operation for the past twenty-five years. Jeff was very familiar with her high-quailty Gouda cheeses, as he had been buying them from her for twenty years.
Jeff 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!
By April 2013, the business plan was complete, financing was in the works and Jeff had begun his apprenticeship with cheese master, 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 it proved successful!
In 2014, Glasgow Glen Farm opened its doors to the public under Jeff’s ownership. The change in name reflected Jeff’s plans to build a brand-new cheese-making facility and shop on a 12-acre parcel of paradise in New Glasgow, PEI.
Today, you can visit Glasgow Glen Farm in this beautiful location and soak up the views of the Hunter River and Rustico Bay. The on-site shop features Gouda cheeses in an array of delicious and creative flavours including Caraway, Smoked Peppercorn, Beer, Bluda (a blue Gouda!) and Pizza – a flavour that’s been very popular with the young folks!
Visitors to Glasgow Glen Farm can also look forward to enjoying hot stone-baked pizza, freshly baked goodies including GIANT cinnamon rolls, and other lunch and snack items made in-house. While you’re visiting, be sure to take a peek at the cheese cellar rooms – you may just catch sight of the big cheese himself, Jeff!
From its very beginnings, Glasgow Glen Farm has been a family business and continues to be. Jeff is the CEO; his wife, Grace, looks after sales and marketing; and their children, Finn and Molly, take an active role in helping at the shop. Grace’s mother, Colleen Younie, does the accounting and manages the financial aspects of the business.