Slate River Dairy Set Celebrate Federal Certification

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Minister Bill Mauro at Slate River Dairy
Minister Bill Mauro at Slate River Dairy

Minister Bill Mauro at Slate River Dairy
Minister Bill Mauro at Slate River Dairy

Saturday May 14th Tour Slate River Dairy

THUNDER BAY – The owners of Slate River Dairy announced today that their dairy plant, just opened last August, has just received Federal certification which will let them sell their product Canada-wide.  Dairy owners Wilma and Jim Mol met with MPP Bill Mauro and representatives from MP Don Rusnak’s office today for a sample of the behind-the-scenes experience the public can expect on May 14, during the double Grand Opening Tours that Slate River Dairy and country neighbor Thunder Oak Cheese Farm will host.

Thunder Bay – Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro congratulated the Mol family today on their hard work and success in opening and growing Slate River Dairy, which was built with the support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.  “The farming industry is very important in this region,” he said.  “The Government of Ontario is committed to growth in Ontario’s agri-food sector by providing farmers with funding programs that support good jobs, attract investment, and help them make an even greater contribution to Ontario’s economic success.”   On May 14, visitors will have a chance to meet some of the people behind the dairy industry, and get an idea of how important it is to the local economy.

At Slate River Dairy, visitors will ride a wagon to the barn at Riverbend Farm, where the Mol family herd produces all the milk for their dairy plant.  During their tour through the barn they’ll have a chance to meet the Mol family along with other farm community representatives like Dr. Dan Matyazovsky, the local large-animal vet, and Tyler Breukelman of Thunder Bay Feeds, who will be on-hand to answer questions about the care of livestock.  From the barn visitors will return to the dairy plant, where they’ll enjoy free samples prepared by the LocalMotion food truck and have a chance to look through the viewing window at the equipment used to produce the seven products Slate River Dairy has begun producing since they opened last August.

Dairy owner Wilma Mol says she knows many people are interested in seeing the way the dairy cows are cared for, and is glad to offer this opportunity for people to meet the “personnel” behind the milk.  “It’s not just the cows people will meet in the barn, though,” she said. “The dairy business is part of a network that supports a lot of other business – other farms, suppliers, trade professionals.  And when you support your local dairy, you support that network.  We’re looking forward to introducing more of our farm network to the public.”

A few minutes’ drive away at Thunder Oak Cheese Farm, the infamous cheese sample buffet will be open and visitors will actually be able to go behind the window into the processing area for a rare opportunity to see the equipment and the aging racks up close.  Thunder Oak, which moved its retail operation from the dairy farm a few minutes up the road to its new location in 2013, has just begun making cheese at the new location as well.  Owner Walter Schep says that health and safety is the reason they rarely open the production area to the public.  “We built this building with viewing windows, like the last one, so that people can see the way we make cheese without coming inside.  That’s really important to maintain a clean environment for making cheese, but it prevents people from getting close looks at the equipment, and the equipment’s pretty cool.  So if you’ve always wanted to look right inside the cheese vat… this is your chance.”

Both dairies will be offering their tours from 10am until 3pm on Saturday, May 14.  More information about the events is available on Facebook/SlateRiverDairy.