About Us



Our Story

For over 95 years, Pearl Valley Cheese has grown into the company it is today, committed to manufacturing high-quality cheese, building lasting relationships, and serving our customers.



Ernest Stalder, a Swiss immigrant to Ohio, purchased the Pearl Cheese Company. It consisted of a small building where a single 200-lb. wheel of cheese was made daily in a copper kettle. He also purchased the neighboring house for a total of $700. This was the humble beginning of Pearl Valley Cheese.



Ernest married Gertrude Bandi, a Swiss immigrant, and from that point forward, she was highly involved in all business decisions.



The first truck delivered milk to the factory. Previously, the milk was brought in by horse and wagon.



The Stalders built a new factory just across the road from the previous location, which now had electricity and multiple copper kettles and presses.



Pearl Valley began making brick cheese because most of the able-bodied men were away at war, and the 200-lb. wheels of Swiss cheese were difficult for the women to maneuver. This production eventually subsided as the Colby business grew.



The Ohio Farmer magazine wrote that Pearl Valley Cheese was the largest cheese plant in all of Ohio. This title is no longer accurate, but it’s still an interesting fact!



The Colby cheese operation was added to our facility and is still a vital part of our diversified business today. Colby cheese varieties make up about half of our production and give us a key distinction from other Ohio cheesemakers who focus solely on the Swiss. Also, during this time, Swiss cheese began to be manufactured in blocks instead of wheels. It was more efficient to make larger batches of cheese at a time in blocks, and they cut well into “sandwich cuts” that could be sold in grocery stores in the deli case.



The final copper kettles were replaced with 2,000-gallon stainless steel, steam-lined vats. Stop by the retail store to see one of the original copper kettles!



Additional construction at the factory included a space for the growing Colby business as well as additional warm room space for the Swiss.



Pearl Valley stopped purchasing milk in cans. Buying milk in bulk was less labor intensive and typically better quality.



Pearl Valley expanded again after purchasing the neighboring farm. A 20,000-square-foot production facility was built, and double-O enclosed vats were installed, which allowed for increased production of Swiss and Colby varieties. This expansion increased our capacity to custom manufacture and private label as well as promote and sell our own brand.



Pearl Valley built a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant with a biodigester that generates biogas. The gas is then used to generate a portion of the facility's electricity.



A new cooler and packaging room was added to increase production capacity.



The whey processing operation was upgraded to reclaim water from our whey and use it in the cheese factory, saving about 30,000 gallons of water per day and increasing cheese-making capacity.



Pearl Valley Cheese crossed the threshold and started making 10,000,000 pounds of cheese in annual production.



Pearl Valley Cheese installed new equipment to upgrade the packaging and cutting of 12 oz pieces of cheese, which are used in our fundraiser program, retail store, and farm markets on the East Coast.



We endeavored on a solar panel installation project, furthering our commitment to sustainable practices.