The departure of Saxby Foods in January represented a market opportunity for another processor to offer dairy products using organic milk. In partnership with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Rock Ridge Dairy, a Ponoka-based, family-owned processor, is upgrading their facility to allow them to offer organic cow’s milk and other organic product lines.
Currently, Rock Ridge produces goat dairy products such as whole natural goat milk, chèvre (soft goat cheese) and feta. The first phase of the facility upgrade was achieving organic certification and licensing from Alberta Milk allowing Rock Ridge to process organic cow’s milk. The second phase of the project included significant modifications to the facility, effectively doubling the processing capacity. Rock Ridge also installed a large vat pasteurizer to increase their chèvre production and add a yogurt product line in the near future.
To market the new product lines, Rock Ridge integrated new labelling equipment to accommodate the different package sizes and shapes. With the expanded operations, Rock Ridge is putting new energy into branding and further product development.
Rock Ridge operates under five brands — Rock Ridge Dairy, Happy Days, Emma, Western Family and Oak Island — and is looking to add the organic cow’s milk to the flagship Rock Ridge Dairy brand. With this upgrade, Rock Ridge Dairy becomes a unique processor with the capability to process and market products created from goat’s or cow’s milk.
Cherylynn Bos, co-founder of Rock Ridge Dairy, said, “We are really excited to begin processing organic milk. It strengthens our business and helps us provide locally produced specialty products to Albertans.”