CHEESE LOVERS UNITE!: Revamped St-Albert factory begins production

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Workers get ready to begin production at the newly-constructed St-Albert cheese factory north of Cornwall.

CORNWALL, Ontario - The first shipment of milk in 18 months has arrived at a popular cheese factory north of Cornwall that was destroyed by fire.

The St-Albert cheese factory, just in time for the community's annual Curd Festival, received its milk shipment Monday and marks the gradual resumption of production at the facility that was completely written off when a blaze ripped into the structure in February 2013.

“Production will remain limited for a few weeks until the new equipment has been mastered, but it represents an important stage, and we are thrilled to share this news with all the people who supported us over the past year,” said executive director Eric Lafontaine.

There's a good chance the curd being provided for this week's festival will be produced in the community.

During the rebuilding of the St-Albert plant, cheese from its Quebec facility supplemented the loss in production.

“For us, this is not only a rebirth but the start of a new chapter in the history of our co-operative, which has been a key part of the community for 120 years,” said co-op chair Ginette Quesnel.

During the Curd Festival, the cheese factory will be letting visitors in for a small tour. Inside, they will see a 200-foot corridor overlooking the production area and the new facilities.

The new factory is capable of producing as much as 10 million kg of cheese annually, up from three million in the previous facility.

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, Quebec

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