Mountainoak Cheese in New Hamburg, Ontario has a bit of a problem. Their cheese is just too good. Ok, that’s not really a problem. But, as demand for their Gouda-style cheeses grows, they are looking to expand. Eventually, they hope to use all of the milk their cows produce in cheese production.
More cheese making means more cleaning, and this means more water being drawn from their well that supplies water to their production facility, office, and small retail store. While they haven’t had any supply issues since they purchased the farm in 1996, they don’t want any surprises that might put their operations and future growth at risk.
Mountainoak wanted to be proactive to mitigate risk and manage their water more sustainably, but they weren’t sure how to start and what would be involved to develop a strategic approach. They reached out to OMAFRA who in turn contacted BLOOM to help make it easier.
We visited Mountainoak to get a sense of their operations and how they could better use water. Being a vertically integrated cheese producer presents a great opportunity to showcase the value of taking a holistic view to resource management. Growing crops, raising cows, and producing milk and cheese all within one business provides opportunities for the company to improve water efficiency and explore fit-for-purpose water reuse and recycling options.
However, before we can start to identify and assess these opportunities, we need to develop a solid baseline to understand Mountainoak’s water use, characterize their wastewater and whey, and project future water requirements. We do this because we’ve seen what can happen when you jump right into implementing a solution before you define the outcomes you want and know what you’re planning for.
Once we finish with developing a baseline and characterization later this fall, we’ll start evaluating practical and affordable solutions that can be implemented by Mountainoak and others like them. Stay tuned!