Several government and industry representatives met at the Old School Cheesery Ltd., to congratulate the family business on being the first économusée artisans in Alberta on September 13.
Patrick Dupuis and his family were thrilled to be selected, and to join a network of bilingual artisans in seven provinces and eight countries. With the help of Économusée®, their newly decorated boutique features bilingual placards that describe their process of cheese making, as well as making traditional and modern references to the industry in Alberta and Canada. Their cheesery is located south of Vermilion and delivers to the local area through markets; 28 grocery stores in Vermilion, Elk Point, St. Paul, Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Mannville, Wainwright, Paradise Valley, Lloydminster, Vegreville, Beaumont, and Edmonton; as well as eight or nine restaurants. Clients from as far as Airdrie routinely make the trip out for their delectable handmade cheese. During Alberta Open Farm Days, they hosted 140 people including some from Calgary.
Étienne Alary, director of Conseil de Développement Économique de l’Alberta, gave an address saying, “For a Francophone entrepreneur in Alberta, it is an undeniable advantage. Joining the network differentiates you from your competitors and allows you to share your passion with your customers. In addition, the concept also aims to ensure the economic development of rural area by focusing on local tourism to artisans. In this sense, Économusée® remains an interesting hybrid between tourism, agriculture and economic development.”
In promoting their cultural heritage and cheese making skills, the family continues to love sharing a wide array of cheese flavours with people all across Alberta. They have hosted tour buses of school groups and seniors from all across the province. They often make suggestions for travellers to visit other area producers, and even make a beer flavoured cheese with product from an area brewery.
Mélanie Dassylva, from Économusée® travelled from Quebec and said, “You have been selected because of the quality of your product, but more because you had a fabulous story to tell. I wish you every success for the future.”
"I believe in the agriculture industry strongly. I think everyone needs to know where their food is coming from, and with what passion it comes. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase what we are doing, and it is always fun to see people coming into our shop. Their interest and questions are what drive us,” said owner Patrick Dupuis.
Guests enjoyed sampling their many cheeses and touring the facility. On the tour, Dupuis noted that their customers dictated their flavours; and they don’t use any preservatives, powders, or colourants. Guests learned that with so many cheese options to taste, 70 per cent of Canadians only eat cheddar or mozza. People all across the province have responded well to the Old School Cheesery’s flavours, curds, and brie. Future plans to grow their business include a milking parlour in the back where they hope to house goats and expand into more fine cheese.
They are open year round Wednesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information you can visit oldschoolcheesery.com, or economusees.com.