MONFORTE DAIRY AT MARKET.
Shepherds, Farmers, Teachers, Artists and Friends Rachel and Daniel in their Saturday costume caper
WE ARE BLESSED TO HAVE OUR SHEPHERDS AND FARMERS IN OUR WORLD. IN THE CASE OF DAVID MARTIN, WE LEARN TO SLOW RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE AND RECEIVE LETTERS.
2104 Design and Production by DUO. CA [DUO Strategy and Design Inc.] Photography, unless otherwise noted, www.noracamps.com
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
Iowa. Together they will carry on the craft of cheese making, and the love of land
Itâ€™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 arenâ€™t done growing and
think of what we want to accomplish in
learning. There is so much that we want
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
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 finishedâ€Ś
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
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.
MONFORTE PAYS TRIBUTE TO A WONDERFUL FRIEND;
Desmond Heeley: 1997 Camelot Camelot, 1997, was Desmond Heeleyâ€™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 Monforteâ€™s osteria will have music or movies or wine tastings and sometimes it will be the home base for farm toursâ€Śor it will be where we share how to ferment foods.
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 Perryâ€™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 dogâ€Ś 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 cowâ€™s milk comes from Perryâ€™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 donâ€™t tell him. That just wouldnâ€™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 artists...to 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. [www.sanpatrignano.org]
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 sheepâ€™s milk comes from Justinâ€™s farm.
good party. THE CAST AND CREW FROM Tommy, STRATFORD FESTIVAL, ATTENDED OUR FIRST ‘SING FOR YOUR SUPPER’ EVENT AT MONFORTE ON WELLINGTON.
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 www.monfortedairy.com
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