Nova Scotia

Cape Breton farmers make 'mooves' with new creamery

A Cape Breton couple is hoping bringing a creamery back to the island will lead to long-term success for their farm.

'I think the fact that we came from away to here made us appreciate everything more'

Meghan, Matt, and daughters Sophie and Heidi are shown at their Skye Glen farm. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

As Meghan and Matt Brosens drove from Ontario to their newly purchased Cape Breton dairy farm, Meghan spent much of the trek trying to convince her husband they should open their own creamery.

After successfully running their dairy operation for eight years, they have decided to open what will be the only creamery processing cow milk in Cape Breton.

Meghan grew up on a dairy farm, but with her parents still active in their own farm, and land being in short supply in Ontario, the couple decided to purchase a farm in Skye Glen, Cape Breton in 2013.

"It was quite a bit cheaper," Meghan said.

The pair opened Brosendale Farms, which is home to 100 cows. The couple has built up the farm and their family with the addition of two daughters. 

The couple had never even visited the East Coast prior to moving to Cape Breton. 

"I always kind of think of it as a diamond in the rough sort of thing.... I think the fact that we came from away to here made us appreciate everything more," said Matt.

"You know, it's just a wonderful place, especially raising the kids."

Heidi and Sophie Brosens are shown with Temperance the Jersey cow. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

Meghan always wanted to run her own creamery but it was hard to make that dream a reality in Ontario.

"It wasn't really an option to take over my parents' farm because they're still going and, like, I live off of cheese, basically, like I've never had a cavity," laughed Meghan.

Although Matt said the farm is running at its highest capacity, he was hesitant to follow Meghan's dream for a creamery. Then the pandemic hit.

"I always shot it down, but with COVID, it seemed like that sort of thing was the only thing that took off," Matt said. "These local foods was what took off."

Like other farms throughout the pandemic, Brosendale Farms saw customers take a keen interest in food produced locally. According to Matt, businesses making cheese in Quebec have fared well during the pandemic and that provided him with some confirmation this was something that could work on the island.

The farm is home to 100 cows. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

The creamery, to open this spring, will be called Skye Glen Creamery.

The Brosens have put up a new building on their farm that will have large windows so customers can see the creamery in operation. Matt would also like to have school classes visit.

"It would just give them a better understanding of where their food comes from and everything like that, because where else are they going to get to see that?"

The storefront will also feature a machine where customers can pour their own milk into reusable glass bottles, similar to growlers in a brewery. They'll also sell cheese in various forms, butter and other products.

Meghan, who has a bit of a sweet tooth, wants to look at chocolate milk, too.

According to Matt, the number of dairy farms in Nova Scotia has been decreasing, even since they arrived in 2013. He and Meghan hope having their own creamery will ensure the future of their farm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brittany Wentzell

Current Affairs Reporter/Editor

Brittany Wentzell is based in Sydney, N.S., as a reporter for Information Morning Cape Breton. She has covered a wide range of issues including education, forestry and municipal government. Story ideas? Send them to brittany.wentzell@cbc.ca

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