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Petra Kassun-Mutch & Fifth Town Artisan Cheese

5th town spotlight(Abridged version of August 17, 2011 posting on CheeseLover.ca)

Petra Kassun-Mutch, a dynamic force in Ontario artisan cheese, is stepping down as president of Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, the award-winning company she founded seven years ago. She remains a 50% shareholder of the Prince Edward County-based business.

Kassun-Mutch was a key player in the founding of the Ontario Cheese Society and currently serves as interim chair of the recently formed Canadian Cheese Society. She told the society’s board that she now plans to be fully involved in its development as a voice for cheesemakers coast to coast.Cape Vessey is one of the many award-winning cheeses brought to market during the inspired leadership of Petra Kassun-Mutch.

5th town logoFifth Town Artisan Cheese describes itself as an environmentally and socially responsible enterprise. It is Canada’s 8th B Corporation and achieved the highest score at time of certification. Fifth Town received the 2008 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation. It is Canada’s only Platinum LEED manufacturing facility and the only Platinum LEED dairy in the world (as of 2011). It has also received many awards for a variety of other initiatives including sustainable enterprise management, marketing, innovation, and architecture.

Fifth Town is positioned as a niche producer of fine handmade cheeses using fresh, locally produced goat and sheep milk. The product development processes reflect the spirit of the Fifth Town brand which aims to integrate traditional methods and craftsmanship ethics with local terroir. They are situated on 20 acres of agricultural land on the eastern ridge of Prince Edward County.

The dairy opened in June 2008 with only five employees and three farms as suppliers. Since then, Fifth Town has grown to more than 16 employees with seven farm suppliers, and generates $1.5M in revenues annually.

5th town buildingThe company was designed by Kassun-Mutch from the outset as a social purpose enterprise with governing values focused on leadership in sustainable enterprise management, local community contributions, and the triple bottom line. About 93% of the money spent to make, market and distribute its products stays in the community.

Fifth Town has won more than 35 prestigious national and international awards including Grand Champion on several occasions for its unique cave-aged goat, sheep and cow milk cheeses. It took five of the 21 awards given to Ontario dairies at the recent American Cheese Society competition in Montreal.