Oxford County is famous for being the dairy capital of Canada. Numerous icons and events throughout the county exist to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment. It is also a historic site for cheese making. Since the mid-1800's Oxford County has been a huge producer of cheeses that were in demand both locally and internationally with much of it being shipped to England and the United States.
Friesvale Farms has been a rich part of that history as well as it has been in business for over 60 years. Sjerp Ysselstein Sr. was a young dairy farmer in Holland and moved here after the war in 1951. He met and married another recent Dutch immigrant and they soon had four children and managed to build a strong dairy business in the exact location of where Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese is today. Sjerp Ysselstein Sr. taught his children how to work hard by caring for animals and the land. Eventually his son, John Ysselstein, took over the family farm and began to pass down the skills he learned from his father to his own five sons. The oldest son, Shep Ysselstein, named after his grandfather, has now extended the dairy farm by beginning to process the milk from the farm into unique artisan cheeses. After many years of planting this new business, Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese, has begun production and the rich history of cheese making in Oxford Country vibrantly lives on.