French products can be a formidable opponent to local artisans

French products can be a formidable opponent to local artisans

Local cheesemaker to the European Union: ‘Bring it on’

The Farm House Natural Cheeses isn't worried about a trade agreement that will allow more European cheese into the Canadian market.

A local cheese producer is confident the quality of her cheese can stand up against loosened trade barriers between Canada and the European Union.

Debra Amrein-Boyes, cheesemaker and owner of The Farm House Natural Cheeses in Agassiz, doesn’t understand the panic surrounding last week’s unveiling of a trade agreement that would enable more European cheeses to enter Canada’s artisan cheese market.

An in-principle agreement has been made between the Canadian government and the European Union (EU) that, among other things, would allow for more than double the amount of European cheeses to enter the Canadian market.

Currently 13,000 tonnes are allowed to be imported; with this agreement 29,000 tonnes would be allowed, which works out to approximately one pound of cheese per person.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada, which represents more than 12,500 farms, is vehemently opposed to the agreement arguing it would put small, Canadian cheesemakers out of business.

Amrein-Boyes disagrees.

Her family’s dairy farm is small, processing just 400,000 litres a year, compared to larger farms, which do that in a couple days. And yet, the competition doesn’t scare her.

“As long as we’re producing good, quality cheeses, I don’t see this negatively effecting our business at all,” said Amrein-Boyes.

“If Canadian cheesemakers are not able to produce local, fine cheese then we will certainly suffer, but I believe consumers are already choosing locally made products for their quality.

“The market for quality local cheeses is only increasing, which, in my opinion, will in any case outweigh the sales in imported cheese.”

Amrein-Boyes feels the alarm bells have been sounded too loud and too soon. The trade agreement doesn’t go into effect for another two years.

“I just don’t understand the panic,” she said. “If the only reason we have a market in Canada is because there’s no competition, that doesn’t cut it. We have to have quality cheeses.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read