Cory Spencer and Kirsten Thorarinson moved to Vancouver Island in 2010 with a dream of producing some of the best cheese around. Growing little by little each year, that dream became a reality in 2014 when The Happy Goat Cheese Company made the first batch of cheese in our newly licensed production facility.
Our farm is home to over 100 curious, feisty, and jovial goats who spend most of their days grazing our lush, green pasture. We are thankful for the amazing milk they produce for us – without it our cheeses wouldn’t be the same!
In 2018 we made a big change and began producing cow’s milk cheese alongside our beloved goat’s milk varieites. We are lucky to have Balme Ayr Farm and their delicious Ayrshire milk just a short drive from us – their milk is perfect for rich, indulgent cheeses!
With this change came a new name…Haltwhislte Cheese Company. Fine cheeses, hand crafted in the Cowichan Valley.
Karen is an aspiring farmer with an interest in artisanal food and wine. She moved to the Cowichan Valley in 2016 after working in the wine industry and obtaining a degree in Hotel and Food Administration at the University of Guelph. Her passion for cheese began in 2013 while conducting wine and cheese seminars at Ravine Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake and has since flourished through her apprenticeship at Haltwhistle. She has now taken on the role of cheesemaker, affineur and goat wrangler. Catch her on the farm, wandering the Duncan Farmers Market or bartending at the Old Firehouse.
Cheesemaker & Herd Manager
Cory began his dairying career in 2009, when he travelled to France and England to learn to make cheese from small farmstead cheesemakers. Upon returning to Canada in 2010, he bought a small herd of goats and, along with his wife Kirsten, started selling goats’ milk to local cheesemakers. By 2014, they had finished the construction of their own cheese plant, and began producing a range of raw milk cheeses, sold through farmers markets, cheese shops, and restaurants in British Columbia. Today, Cory acts as both the plant and farm manager and oversees all cheesemaking, affinage, and herd management.
Sales & Operations Manager
Kirsten was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley. After several years living in Vancouver, she returned with her husband Cory to start building what is now the Haltwhistle Cheese Company. On the farm, Kirsten works behind the scenes making sure the cheese room and dairy have everything they need to run efficiently. She is frequently on the road bringing cheese to our mongers and chefs, and being the face of Haltwhistle at several Vancouver Island farmers’ markets. When she’s not working, you can find her studying to become a Certified Cheese Professional with the American Cheese Society.