More than just a whiff of success for young artisanal cheesemaker
ADAM BLANCHARD was raised in a busy household that was continuously in motion. As a child he lived in all four of the Atlantic Provinces, and Ontario too, but it was Newfoundland that most resonated and was the place Adam wanted to make his home.
After completing PEI's Holland College Culinary Arts program in 2010, Adam took his diploma and headed back to St. John’s but found himself unsure about what to do with his new vocation. While mulling over his future Adam started playing around with cheesemaking in his kitchen, figuring it would be a valuable skill and that his family and friends would enjoy the benefits of his labour. The surprise came when Adam realized just how passionate he was about the process; he discovered that turning milk into cheese was both a relaxing and a beautiful process. He also realized that there were very few if any artisan cheesemakers in Newfoundland at that time. It was then a light bulb went off: Adam had found not only a new passion but a new career path, and the idea for Five Brothers Artisan Cheese was born. The business name reflects Adam’s being part of a closeknit family of five brothers, although his siblings are not involved in the business.
Since cheesemaking hadn't been a part of his curriculum at Holland College, Adam decided to learn all he could on his own. At first he relied on books, then in 2012 took a week of intensive training with Linda Faillace, proprietor of Three Shepherds Farm in Vermont. Over the past 19 years, Linda and her husband Larry have taught the art of cheesemaking to more than 4000 students.
In the past four years, Adam's business has grown from hobby to a full time operation. All milk used in the cheesemaking process is 100 per cent Newfoundland-produced and comes from Central Dairies, although Adam is working on a plan to gain access to raw milk from a specific area farm. “We want to have the best possible milk for making cheese, but it is a hard process because this is a not only a new business but also a new industry and there is a lot of red tape that goes along with it,” Adam says.
He hopes to also be able to use goat’s milk in the future as new area farms begin production.
Five Brothers produces both fresh and aged cheeses, including Bergy Bits Cheese Curds, White Fleet Queso Fresco and a number of aged types including Avalon Cheddar, Smokey Avalon and Newfoundland Sea Salted Monterey Jack.
At this time Five Brothers Artisan Cheese is only sold in Newfoundland and Labrador including at Colemans, Powell’s, Bidgood’s, Belbin’s Grocery, Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food, Real Food Market and Food For Thought. Adam is also proud of the fact that many restaurants serve Five Brothers Cheese.
Despite his growing success, Adam has stayed true to his roots and still attends the St. John’s farmers market, open June through December.
As for the future of the Five Brothers? Adam plans to continue developing the business and hopes that perhaps one day his daughter will take over—she’s just 15 months old, so he knows he’ll have to wait a bit.
“This has been an amazing experience and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. We hope that in the future we will be able to sell cheese across Canada, at a store near you,” Adam says. “I have met some of my best friends and my significant other (Julia) through cheese.” He adds, “Remember to grab life by the cheese.”