Cheese in the Time of Covid (Or, Why Your Cheese May Be a Little Late This Week)
Little things have gigantic impacts. It is, after all, just a bunch of tiny bacteria that transform milk into cheese, or as Clifton Fadiman famously suggested, hastens “milk’s leap toward immortality.” So, as cheesemakers, we spend most of our time celebrating those little bugs. We watch them carefully. Too few and the product is uninteresting, or somehow doesn’t seem itself. Too many—or the wrong ones—and the product is taken over, it becomes offensive or even harmful. But most of the time, it’s a magical process.
Letter from Ruth
Well that was a kicker of a week. The strangeness of the world seems to permeate all things; as though there is no safe place or normality. No place that is as it was and most of it uncomfortable. But that said there have been notes of wonderfulness in the midst of it all; a special example is the support and thoughtfulness from the Monforte community. Funnily words from business friends were that one should never release anything that could be interpreted as negative or worrying for the community and yet you proved them wrong with all of your support. I am so grateful that this can be a naive and transparent company; warts and all.
I remember fondly William Hutt telling me I should never play poker or try acting as I was unable to be anything but what I was; but you made it okay to be that way and I thank you for that. Not sure I could survive the pressures of being other but am so glad there are people that can and do. Like Bill. But not a life for this old girl.
So here is the view around the corner.
For the next six months; we will need to concentrate on the evolution of as many fresh cheeses that I can possibly invent; it will be evolutionary; but in warp speed. New trials weekly and feedback and opinions required; this mostly has to do with cash flow and trying to figure out the next evolution for the company and our model of cheese making in a pandemic; so hang on. its going to be a bit of a ride and your opinions become super important. Cottage cheese this week? fresco with pesto or truffle oil? Or fresh cheese rubbed with olive oil instead of white mold and 6 months of aging.
At the same time I had a wonderful chef ask to come and work and help with the evolution. So lots of food stuffs to round out your week and exciting to think about what could be created.
And here is a list of where; when and how. Firstly; the most important people to us are those that only need and or can afford one item per week; we are not a company that ever wanted people to buy or spend more than they need and ironically this is now our most difficult medium but in my opinion the most important. Brickworks; St Lawrence; Western Fair in London and some Sonya revolution acts will be the way to do this directly. But then we have a couple of bodega models where the idea is about direct sales at the same price as farmers markets.
To start with they include Belong Café at the brickworks; Murreys in Hamilton; The Grove in Niagara on the lake; Witty and co in Cambridge and hopefully places in both London and KW and more to keep you posted about.
Next we have direct pickup in four locations in the city and at the dairy in Stratford. Get a $25 Half-Box (still over 600g), a full Autocrat for $50, and several others! Hubs include Wychwood, Jefferson Ave, Brickworks, and Fisher Folks and will be operating November 21st. Ordering will be online and is all posted.
Of course we will still deliver boxes of the same weight for $60 ($50 + $10 delivery).
But we are surely looking for other locations and ideas; please let us know your thoughts.
The East End?
But let’s speak about Revolutionary Acts for a moment. I guess I am saying that I think we need to be a little like Robin Hood and his Merry group of Men. We are saying that we need to think outside of the box and perhaps push the limits in an experimental way. As a farm we are allowed to pull up a vehicle and sell our wares out of it anywhere in the city; so how do we do that? Ted Thorpe set the example of parking on Christie on Saturday mornings and being a bit of a renegade and Sonja has offered to do the same. We just need to think of different ways to get our products to you this winter and would so love suggestions please. Driveway pickups? We don’t want you to feel you need to buy too much product; and it's fun pushing the envelope safely.
The Kitchen and store at the dairy will be up before Christmas and next summer; the food truck will be at the dairy along with a smoker; poutine Thursdays; a pizza oven and outdoor seating. Thanks so much to the city of Stratford for the support to make this all happen.
But in the meantime; lots of things to try and comment on.
So from the bottom of my heart I thank you for allowing us to evolve and for being part of something precious and kind of extraordinarily wonderful.
With all the fondness I can express; Ruth