Page 1


Shepherds, Farmers, Teachers, Artists and Friends Rachel and Daniel in their Saturday costume caper


2104 Design and Production by DUO. CA [DUO Strategy and Design Inc.] Photography, unless otherwise noted,

I think of the decade of Monforte, the

In the process, she was just like Monforte;

ten years ended with healing on many

full of triumphs and failures, tenacious and

levels: the opportunity to help with cheese-

honourable and totally human.

making education, to feel less financial pressure, to rest a little with the seasonal

On January 3, 2014, Rachael married her

rhythms, to spend more time with family

love; a Mennonite cheese maker from

and friends.

Iowa. Together they will carry on the craft of cheese making, and the love of land

It’s been a decade; it is remarkable how

and sustainable agriculture there. But

quickly that time has gone.

she has left a legacy of her own abilities and principles and chutzpah within the

How much has been accomplished and


how much there is left to learn. I am so lucky to have known and worked I am so grateful that you have been there

with her, but now is the time for the

for support during our learning curve, and

company to look at the next decade and

grateful that we aren’t done growing and

think of what we want to accomplish in

learning. There is so much that we want

that time.

to accomplish and get better at and do, so please stick with us, as this has been just

I think both Rachael and Monforte have

the beginning.

evolved from colts to mares; both are steadier and wiser, yet still keen to keep

The Decade That Was

working. We could not exist without our

Ten years ago, just after Monforte got

community and we thank you for all the

started, a quirky, coltish Mennonite girl

support you have given us so far. But we are

showed up, passionate about what cheese is

far from finished‌

and what it could do for her community. It is time to be more and to be better. I think that Rachael became symbolic of the growth of the business and all the joys

Thank you for dreaming with us.

and foibles of the last ten years.

Ruth Monforte Dairy

Our wonderful friend, theatre designer and Des is generous with his time

after I had left at midnight I

and talents, and is kind beyond

guess the kids decided to go to the

belief.. When I first met Des, I was

party and blow off the cleanup.

the chef for the Stratford Festival

Goodness was I frustrated, and

which was a job full of wonders

sometimes when I am tired and

and privilege.

disappointed, the reaction can be

We worked hard but felt

intense. So there I was, storming

rewarded and appreciated. One

around my kitchen, yelling about

year, during opening week, we

kids these days, with no idea that

had worked a pretty long day, and

Des was in the building working

I needed to come back the next

on a late opener. Next thing I


knew there was a package left on

The kitchen was a disaster;

the kitchen counter.

Desmond Heeley, is a brilliant artist who did our original logo. It was one of Desmond’s

wishes and the remembrance

friends and music and generosity

paintings with a note saying that

of laughter, art and the belief

of spirit. We just wish Desmond

I was a thing of absolute beauty

of craft. Our lives are better for

could have been there.

when I was angry, absolutely

having him as a friend.

beautiful. Now I am many things but not

When we throw parties we always think of whether Des

We hope for each of you a New Year full of friends and laughter and good food.

a thing of beauty and it was one

would enjoy them, and boy,

of the most wonderful things

did we have a good time this

and thank you all for being

anyone has ever said to me, even

Sunday before Christmas. We

friends of Monforte.

if it isn’t the truth.

recreated the Morris dinner in

Most days I think of Des.

an earthier, more Monforte way.

He isn’t well right now, and

Brandade, cassoulet and salad

Monforte wants to send out best

and Christmas pudding. Good

Please be kind to each other,

Our lives are all richer because of you.

Fondly, Ruth


Desmond Heeley: 1997 Camelot Camelot, 1997, was Desmond Heeley’s 34th production for the Stratford Festival. His first project at Stratford was the 1957




which marked the opening of the permanent Festival Theatre building. With gratitude to the Archives of the Stratford Festival for sharing these images.

We share methods and struggles, wishes and dreams.


An osteria is not fancy. It generally has fewer menu choices in a family style atmosphere. Menus are based on availability of foraged, seasonal, local food. In Italy, people who work nearby might frequent the same osteria daily for a good meal in familiar surroundings. Sometimes Monforte’s osteria will have music or movies or wine tastings and sometimes it will be the home base for farm tours‌or it will be where we share how to ferment foods.

We walked

in a meadow of knee-

rich in cream. This is one source of milk

high grasses behind five girls of various

for Monforte cheese and if you have tasted

heights. The smallest was almost eclipsed

Salers, Abondance, Tellegio, Chemey, or

by the grass and so the eldest swung her

Gaperon than you have experienced the

little sister up onto her hip. Four of the

wealth and beauty of Perry’s farm. These

girls have long braids that lay flat and

cows will be called in at the end of the day

contrasting against the fabric of their

and they come, without any prodding or

dresses, which were coloured from royal

encouragement, to their stalls where they

blue to soft grey. These girls skip, dance,

will be fed hay and milked.

pick grasses and gaze with loving eyes at their father who stands in the middle of

On this day, moments earlier, three grey

this field, straw hat firmly planted against

kittens were born to an all white Molly.

the wind and sun.

One of us has fallen in love with the dog‌ hard. Last winter this dog had 9 pups; her

The breeze made the grasses move

first litter. The girls promise a puppy to

like large waves, while the sky, blue

our friend. He is smitten with the bitch

interrupted by white clouds, goes on

who has rolled unceremoniously onto her

forever in every direction. We are away

back for a scratching and stroking.

from cities and towns, off a dirt road in Mennonite country. We step carefully, the

We are given posies of mixed flowers and

girls in bare feet, to avoid cow plops and

we purchase onions and eggs. We say our

nettles. As we walk, the cows, dairy cows

farewells and promise to return.

of black and brown and tan, inch toward us - not too close - never too close - as we are not yet friends. These cows only produce milk when they have calved and the milk they provide is

Monforte cow’s milk comes from Perry’s farm.

So imagine Linwood; a tiny, mostly conservative Mennonite village north of St. Jacob’s. Talk about local, for goodness sake. I mean really, these are people who grow and raise all of their own food and you are there talking to them about why they should buy your expensive sheep’s milk cheese. And then you meet him, and he says to you in an Iowa accent, “So, you make cheese.” And you think, if I could be a conservative Mennonite, this would be the ideal thing going on. But he is the coolest, most honourable of humans, and you realize that you are in the presence of a farmer so amazing, who doesn’t know he is amazing, because that would be vain and that is unacceptable. And his eyes twinkle. And he raises pigs.

So here goes the thinking, because one is always thinking...if he took my whey, we could replicate the European model. Cheese, whey, pork. Full circle. Not only that, but David also grows wheat which he mills and we make into crackers and granola.

His name is David E. M. Martin and he is our pork farmer and an extraordinary human being, but don’t tell him. That just wouldn’t do. But in the meantime; if you can, buy his pork or his flour because he is a really good farmer; ethical, honourable and so humbly intelligent. He is what will save our world.

What started as a desire to make cheese has grown into a mood of responsibility for and to our shepherds and farmers, our community, to other the food chain and to those less fortunate than we are. We are dreaming of a subscriberfunded Monforte Farm where young farmers can count on longterm land and where the community can come to learn and partake. Ruth is leaning toward a farm that models San Patrignano. []

Think Make Grow Prepare Share Learn More excitement ahead.

Chef Neil Baxter I first met Chef Neil Baxter at the culinary school – Stratford Chefs School – where he was a teacher and I was a student. I coveted his cooking ability. We married, we shared a kitchen, two kitchens actually, and a wonderful son. Today Neil and I are good friends and food colleagues. Neil runs cooking classes in Rundles’ kitchen and I visit from time to time to break bread and talk cheese. I am still smitten by Neil’s cooking. On this particular Sunday, Neil and his class were preparing an Indian-influenced meal. As we said goodbye, students were preparing to sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Monforte sheep’s milk comes from Justin’s farm.


love a


Rachael Bauman.

Monforte started its existence in January of 2004, and one of the wonders of the first year was a young woman named Rachael Bauman. She showed up like a kitten with no fear, more energy then she knew what to do with and a heart that was so tender that I often overwhelmed her. We worked together for 10 years and Rachael gave Monforte and everyone who was involved with us joy and passion and a determination that was formidable.

Rachael has grown into a beautiful woman. She got married to a wonderful young Mennonite cheesemaker from Iowa on January 3rd, 2014.

We all wish Rachael joy and prosperity and a life full of wonderful cheese and family.

Be well Rachael; we love you.

Monforte Dairy 49 Griffith Road, Stratford, ON (877) 437-5553 Monforte on Jefferson 125 Jefferson Ave, Toronto, ON (647) 700-8598 Monforte on Wellington Osteria 80 Wellington St. Stratford, ON

Wellington Street, Stratford, ON c. 1910

Image: Stratford-Perth Archives

Gerard Brender a Brandis created this wood ingraving of a water buffalo for Monforte Dairy - to celebrate the life of dear friend and mentor Dan DeMatteis

Monforte Dairy  

Artisanal cheese. In a world gone mad for innovation and change, it's the small pleasures that keep us sane. And in the constellation of s...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you