MyNorth News Service
(Press Release provided by Leelanau Cheese)
LEELANAU COUNTY: From Switzerland to Leelanau County, from 1995 to 2015, we are now celebrating our new location and final destination. The new creamery and cheese cellar are finally done–20 years from the day Anne and John Hoyt started Leelanau Cheese Co. in a garage in the village of Omena.
John Hoyt is from Detroit and met his wife in Switzerland where they worked together making Raclette cheese, a specialty cheese from the Valais region in the Swiss Alps. They brought their cheese-making skills to Northern Michigan in the mid-90s. In 2000, Leelanau Cheese Co. moved to Black Star Farms and kept making their award-winning cheese at that location for 15 years.
The creamery has now found one more home: we’ve moved to a remodeled church on M22, south of Suttons Bay.
The project–a new creamery and cheese cellar–is done, and the first wheels of Raclette cheese were stored to age in the new cave, exactly 20 years from the start in the garage in Omena. Since 1995, Leelanau Cheese Co. made 45,000 wheels of Raclette and 350,000 lbs. of Fromage Blanc.
The company won Best of Show at the American Cheese society in 2007 and was First Runner Up two times. Leelanau Cheese also won, in different competitions: 7 gold medals, 8 silver medals, 6 bronze medals, and were 8 times Grand Champions at the Michigan State Fair.
When we started in 1995, the local food movement did not really exist, and imported food was the trend. Some stores and restaurants were skeptical about using our products, but now we could not be a better place as the demand and the need for local food has reached people’s everyday lifestyle. Our cheeses are made from local cow’s milk.
It has been 20 long cheesy years, and we are grateful for the support of our customers who kept us going year after year.