Best Farmers’ Market Vendor (Prepared)

Five Brothers Artisan Cheese

3 Cashin Avenue, 728-1883

Runner Up: The Waffle Lady (Emily Hunt)

Adam Blanchard was out for drinks with friends when he bumped into someone he hadn’t seen in years.

“I ask him what he was up to, and he’s working out in CBS and living out there. ‘Oh, very good’,” Blanchard says, sitting behind a second hand desk in the nerve centre of his burgeoning cheese empire on Cashin Avenue—a freshly-renovated lo-fi cheese factory of sorts, complete with cheese-like orange trim.

“He asks me what I’ve been up to, and I say ‘making cheese.’”

The friend was confused.“‘Cheese? Is that some sort of joke? Does it stand for something?’”

You can’t blame the person for being confused. It’s all pretty new to Blanchard too.

A few years ago he was studying Business and Political Science at MUN with designs on law school. He’d taken a part-time job washing dishes at Magnum & Steins to tide him over, and it was there, he says, he fell in love with food. He worked his way from the dish pit to the kitchen, and then went on to culinary school in PEI.

Last winter Blanchard found himself back at Magnum. “I was just looking to find something to do to sort of kill time in the winter and find a new skill I could take into the kitchen.”

So he tried making cheese.

One thing led to another, and before long Blanchard began selling his cheeses at the St. John’s Farmers’ Market as the province’s only artisanal cheesemaker. People couldn’t get enough.

“The response from the customers was fantastic,” Blanchard says, barely able to contain a giant smile, “[it was] absolutely one of the best summers I’ve ever had.”

So good in fact that by summer’s end Blanchard was searching for a permanent location for Five Brothers Artisanal Cheese and gearing up to make cheese-making a career.

On April 21st Blanchard celebrated the grand opening of his production facility, which he spent the winter renovating himself, at 3 Cashin Ave.

“I looked at the date on the calendar and said [to someone]: ‘do you realize that this time last year I hadn’t sold a piece of cheese?’”

This year Blanchard will be back at the Farmers’ Market with more of his go-to cheeses—cheddars, monterey jacks, mozzarella, and a chevre, as well as a new camembert. You can also find his cheese at Nourish Bakery in Paradise, Food For Thought on Duckworth, Belbins (as of September), many a local restaurant, and a growing number of other spots.

As for future plans, Blanchard hopes Five Brothers can continue to grow Newfoundland cheese culture and be a coagulating force (ha ha) in the growing local food movement on the island. MM