Eastern Canada now has an organic dairy plant, with the official launch of a new 20,000-sq.-ft. dairy processing facility in Guelph, Ont.
The state-of-the-art facility is owned and operated as a partnership between Steen’s Dairy Ltd. and Guelph, Ont.-based Organic Meadow Co-operative Inc. It is the first new independent dairy constructed in more than 20 years.
With the opening of the facility Steen’s will move production from its previous location in Erin, Ont. “This partnership is all about family,” says owner Tom Steen. “We’ve remained a family business for three generations and have been associated with Organic Meadow since it started 21 years ago. So our new venture is simply a continuation of a longstanding, mutually successful relationship.”
With a $500,000 investment from the province through the Rural Economic Development Program and the Ontario Market Investment Fund, the facility will produce conventional and organic dairy. According to Steen’s and Organic Meadow, the new plant features best-in-class components to minimally process milk while achieving unsurpassed flavour, and is the first of its kind in Canada to feature stainless steel walls, reflecting the companies’ commitment to purity.
More than 50 full-time equivalent jobs were created during the construction of the plant. Thirty jobs were protected in the move of Steen’s to the new facility, and the company anticipates the addition of at least a dozen more positions in coming years.
Organic Meadow is a farmer co-operative comprising more than 100 family farms, and offering over 60 consumer dairy products. Steen’s provides fresh dairy products, as well as co-packaging for small producers and private label business.