Say Cheese: Wyoming area agribusiness gets national TV exposure


A  Wyoming agri business hit the big time as its products were featured on a national talk show.

Marjorie and Anthony Sjaarda recently received a call from Miranda Malisani, the nutritionist on the Marilyn Denis Show. Marilyn had tasted some of their Great Lakes Goat Chees at a café in Uxbridge and “instantly loved it.”

She told Sjaarda “it didn’t taste like a goat” a quality the family attributes to the way they produce milk. “All starts with what you feed them, how you treat them and how the cheese is made,” she says.

Malisani wanted to feature the product on a segment on their show making holiday favourites healthy featuring goat cheese as a high-protein substitute for other higher fat choices.

Marjorie was excited to get the call but in some ways isn’t surprised. The family farm recently hired a marketer, Bryan Schienk, to take their cheeses produced by Pine River Cheese across the country.

In just four years, Great Lakes Goat Cheese can be found in stores across Ontario, BC and Alberta including retailers such as Whole Foods and Goodness Me. The family cares for 1,200 goats and sales have jumped about 50 per cent this year.

“We knew we needed to go bigger than we could do ourselves,” says Sjaarda of their partnership with Schienk. It was Schienk who convinced the Uxbridge shop owner to stock the cheese. And that led to the piece on Marilyn Denis Show.

While it was only a few minutes long, Sjaarda says it has made an impact. The company has had a number of online orders mentioning the show and even people in Petrolia have noticed.

Sjaarda says a customer at Weilands Meats downtown saw the cheese on the counter and mentioned “Oh, I saw that on the Marilyn Denis Show” and bought some cheese.

The spot on show is just another chapter in what the Sjaarda’s call their great “inverterous” project. “It’s about being innovative and adventurous,” she says.