Daily Archives: January 29, 2009

246 comments on CBCnews.ca story

Toronto Life sums up the situation nicely in their Daily dish:

“Raw-milk enthusiast Michael Schmidt began presenting his defence yesterday at a courthouse in Newmarket. The Ontario farmer is defending himself in court after a 2006 raid on his property resulted in a charge of illegally selling unpasteurized milk. This is Schmidt’s second time in court, and he is lawyer-free once again. Is it just us, or is this issue lasting forever?”

Monday’s story on CBCnews.ca was titled: “Case more to do with rights than sales, raw milk crusader tells court”. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“…Michael Schmidt is conducting his own defence during the trial in Newmarket on about 20 charges stemming from an armed raid of his farm in November 2006.

In his opening statement, Schmidt said the core issue was not milk but the “respect to [which] the individual’s freedom has been lost or wilfully ignored.”

During a court recess, he proceeded to take a large swig of unpasteurized milk from a mason jar. Continue reading

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Is the best dairy in Ontario illegal?

So says Toronto Life magazine. See excerpt below from this story:

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On the federal blacklist (origins disguised to protect the guilty): 1. A semi-soft cheese with a washed rind 2. A blue cheese from Quebec 3. Michael Schmidt's raw milk 4. Goat's milk cheese aged less than 60 days 5. A pecorino-style cheese made by local chef Marc Thuet 6. A soft sheep's milk cheese

“At the back of any good cheese shop, there’s a hidden stash: a few unmarked rinds stacked in the walk-in refrigerator or piled in a bin behind the cash register. You might find a cylinder of exquisitely runny blue-streaked Dragon’s Breath sealed in black wax; or maybe a sharp sheep’s milk cheese lovingly aged by a local chef for two years; or a washed rind from Quebec that tastes delicately of fruit and herbs. These are some of the best Canadian cheeses. They are also illegal.

Experts estimate that 25 per cent of domestic rinds in Toronto are contraband. High-end, mid-range, even neighbourhood restaurants keep something illicit in their kitchens to reward regulars. It might be homemade or it might be smuggled. One chef I know gets Nova Scotia curds mailed directly to his house, where there’s less chance of a visit from a food inspector. Like most black markets, this one is burgeoning due to over-regulation: our backward dairy laws often rubber-stamp the bland, the banal and the mass-produced. The smaller the dairy the more interesting and unique its cheese, and the less likely it is to have federal accreditation. Our local industry lags decades behind Quebec’s, but the lion’s share of Quebec’s artisanal cheeses can’t legally cross provincial borders, tantamount to banning the best stuff in Canada. Continue reading

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