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The dairy industry in Ontario is the largest agricultural sector in the province, with roots on over 3,300 family farms focused on providing quality milk to consumers. Dairy Farmers of Ontario is proud to represent these producers and taking an active role in the supply chain, bringing the milk from farm to table.

Restaurants across Ontario and Canada play a significant role in bringing a variety of dairy products and ingredients as tasty menu items to their patrons every single day. There are a couple of elements that every restaurant and establishment should consider when using dairy ingredients in their menu planning and execution; firstly, milk and the dairy products derived from milk are some of the most nutrient dense products available for consumption. A single glass of milk contains 15 essential nutrients and vitamins. Secondly, with all milk originating from family farms across the province, this grassroots movement clearly embodies “local”.

Customers crave local.

Local food has been more broadly appreciated and in demand since the pandemic. Simply stated, “local” provides a sense of security that comes from knowing where your food comes from and that it is sustainably produced. Special attention is paid to limiting the carbon footprint connected with transporting milk from the farm to the restaurant. The fresh milk from the 3,300+ farms in Ontario is picked up every other day and typically travels within a 100 km radius of the source farm to nearly 100 processing plants that craft it into high-quality milk, cheese, butter and the other dairy products that level up your food.

Made on the farm.

In recent times, more dairy processing has taken place “on-farm” by the farmers themselves, using the milk from their own dairy herd. It doesn’t get any more “local” than this! A few short years ago, Ontario had just over 10 on-farm processors providing a variety of dairy products to the local, regional and national marketplace. Now, Ontario has 20 farmstead dairy processors with more scheduled to open shop before the end of 2023, with new offerings to add to Ontario’s well-established selection of incredible local cheeses, butters and other dairy products available to restaurants and foodservice.

Craved globally. Made locally.

The continued growth and ethnic diversity in Ontario has created more demand for culturally familiar dairy using varied methods and ingredients. The breadth and growth of local suppliers means that exceptional cheeses like Brie, Asiago, Bleu, paneer, halloumi, queso fresco, Gouda, and quark, as well as other outstanding products like; kefir, labneh, dahi, ghee, skyr are all not only made and available in Ontario, but are recognized for their quality and craftsmanship across Canada and around the world.

Strong local economies.

All restaurants, from independents to franchisees, are local businesses serving their communities. Supporting partnerships with local suppliers and farmers helps build resilience by strengthening the local economy and supply chain for all.

Local farm-to-table sourcing is what sets a menu apart and elevates the offering to optimize guest experience. Customers are willing to pay a little more for quality and appreciate knowing where their food comes from. When you take advantage of the wide array of fresh, quality, nutritious Ontario dairy products, the farmers and processors become part of the story of your plate, and it’s one you can share with pride.

To learn more about the growing range of Ontario-crafted dairy products, download the fully-updated Ontario Dairy Guide:

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