Fifth Town

Fifth Town Cheese CompanyI was in Prince Edward County--a beautiful island just off the shore of the eastern end of Lake Ontario--over Easter weekend and I caught wind of an artisan cheese company based in a LEED platinum building. That piqued two interests of mine--cheese and sustainability--and I decided to make a side trip to check it out. I'm not a big fan of write-ups of green buildings that read like a laundry list of features (solar panels, wind power, ...) because I think it's the system as a whole, encompassing the building's relationships with the local landscape and community that is most important. It is in the building of these relationships that Fifth Town excels. Fifth Town has designed their operations and facilities to be sustainable from the ground up. Their cheese is aged in underground 'caves' which can be kept at a cool temperature of 7-10 ºC without the aid of mechanical cooling. A cave 'look-in' can be seen in the foreground of the above picture, where passers-by can gaze longingly at shelves full of beautiful rounds of goat cheese. The cheese is made from goat's milk delivered fresh from a network of local family farms within 100 miles of the factory. In order to supply milk to Fifth Town the farms must be [Local Food Plus][] certified, meaning that the farms must be operated under an environmental farm management program, and their goats must be given non-genetically modified feed and treated humanely. The constructed bio-wetlands are nourished by the waste from the cheese-making process, and digest the light whey left over after the milk has been made into cheese and ricotta. To top it off, Fifth Town goes out of its way to educate visitors on their green features, with a number of detailed signs and a lovely 'self guided tour' printed on FSC certified recycled paper. The [Fifth Town artisan cheese company][fifth town] just received LEED platinum certification in March. Fifth Town has a friendly retail shop for visitors, and I must have sampled a dozen varieties of cheese before leaving with a few favourites to take home to family and friends. Their aged cheese was amazing and the bagel chèvre was soft, creamy and delicious. [Fifth town]: "Fifth Town Artisan Cheese" [Local Food Plus]: "Local Food Plus"