François Nadeau demonstrates his milk cooling system.
After four years of university and a trip to Asia where cheese was limited and his craving for the product grew, François Nadeau found his life's passion and threw himself in cheese-making training in Québec and in France.
Originally from Kapuskasing, Nadeau saw the opportunity to bring his dream home. With the support of local entrepreneurs and farmers who recognized the benefits of expanding the business community in the region, our intrepid fromager pursued his vision to establish the first artisanal cheese-making facility in the region.
With the community behind him and a strong business plan in hand, Nadeau turned to FedNor in 2014 and received a $323,500 loan for building renovations and the installation of state-of-the-art equipment.
La Fromagerie Kapuskoise was born.
Milk is poured into a cheese vat for heating and pasteurizing before its transformed to cheese.
Producing and aging a variety of artisanal French cheese, Nadeau says there is strong local demand for La Fromagerie's products and that he is working to expand his market. Recently, his cheese garnered the attention of the Cheese Boutique, a major restaurant supplier and retail facility in southern Ontario. "My parents traveled to Toronto to have my cheese evaluated by a master cheese maker at the Cheese Boutique, and within minutes, they placed their order," says Nadeau.
Today, other local entrepreneurs are also benefiting from this new addition to the Kapuskasing business scene, partnering with Nadeau to help expand the agricultural industry in the region.
M. Nadeau explains that humidity, temperature and air circulation are all essential factors to aging cheese.
For instance, Simon and Louise Dubosq, owners of La Boulangerie, a bakery in Kapuskasing, jumped at the chance to expand their market by creating new products using artisanal cheese. "Thanks to our business relationship with La Fromagerie Kapuskoise, we're creating new goods that are helping us attract a new clientele," says Simon. "We are also creating products to pair with the cheese, which we're selling at La Fromagerie's storefront."
When Nadeau first opened his doors, his products were made exclusively from cow's milk. Wanting to expand his offerings, he struck a deal with Marie-Estella Richard of La chèvre laitière de Hearst limitée, who had a passion for animals and dreamed of owning a farm. "It was much easier to make the decision to raise goats knowing La Fromagerie Kapuskoise had a demand for this high-quality milk and was willing to sign a business agreement with my farm."
Nadeau says he's grateful to be doing exactly what he wants to do in his hometown. His plan is to continue to expand and develop new products, hoping his success will encourage more small businesses to set up in Kapuskasing and around the region.
"I'm committed to my community and am convinced the artisan industry – and La Fromagerie Kapuskoise – has a real role to play in making Kapuskasing stronger and a better place to live."