While we do our best, here at the Bovine, to cover the Canadian raw milk scene, along with other food politics and food rights stories, we don’t often get much news from Quebec. Now we’ve heard how fewer French people starved during the second world war because France was a nation of gardeners. And we know that Quebec has passed laws legalizing soft raw milk cheeses. That was a few years ago. The French heritage in Quebec no doubt helps people there maintain a stronger connection to the land and to food quality, than may be the case elsewhere. So it’s great to get this story, via Karen Selick, of a man who’s doing something in Quebec to stem the tide of industrialization, that threatens authentic and healthy farming everywhere:
From Dominc Lemontagne, via Karen Selick:
The Impossible Farm is a profitable homestead, about one percent the size of your average Québec farm, which has slowly been outlawed through years of legislative constrictions. It is, for example, 2 cows, 200 hens and 500 broiler chickens, grass-fed together on the range from early spring to late fall. It’s this small scale, plural agro-business, which manages it’s own slaughter, processing and marketing. In a nutshell, it is the beginning of a mom-and-pop’s driven regional revitalization effort that favors direct (and often local, farmers market driven) sales, thus promoting resilience rather than dependence.
From Roger at Kitchen Gardeners:
Photo via Kitchen Gardeners.
“Dear Kitchen Gardener,
At the risk of sounding immodest, let me say just this: we ROCK!
By “we” I mean the over 30,000 gardeners who took action over the past three weeks in support of the food garden cause. Together, we helped win not just one victory but two. The first and most important was the Drummondville front yard garden case which attracted over 30,000 petition signatures, significant international media attention and what seemed to be an endless parade of supportive emails (I stopped counting after the first 200). Continue reading
From Margo McIntosh‘s “Balance Your Apple” blog:
“As most you probably know by now, the court system has failed to recognize that tax paying citizens in Ontario have the right to choose what they eat and drink in this “free” country of ours. Michael Schmidt is again looking at a legal battle in his attempt to stop this ridiculous control that makes no sense to anyone who understands the raw milk movement and the realities of safe raw milk.
Now is the time for consumers to stand up and make themselves heard by the governments of every province. There are a group of us organizing rally’s across this country. Here in Ontario we will be doing a raw milk rally fundraiser for the Canadian Constitutional Foundation at 11 a.m. on November 23, 2011. What we want to see is every province of this great country of ours join us by having a rally at exactly the same time. I know that there are hundreds and probably thousands of people right now drinking raw milk safely in this country of ours. Many of you have been quiet and waiting to see what happens. It’s time to put your voice to ours and stand up for your rights or I promise you that you will lose those rights. We can no longer sit back and wait for someone else to “fix” this. Michael Schmidt cannot do this alone. He needs your help. We need your help. Here are some things you can do: Continue reading
Sue Riedl writes up a new cheese from Quebec, said to be made from raw Jersey milk. Excerpted from The Globe and Mail.com:
"Belle de Jour" and "Belle de Jersey". Surely those who named this cheese can't have been unaware of this cultural resonance. Perhaps they'd like to imply that this raw milk cheese is a little bit naughty -- like the Catherine Deneuve character who worked as a prostitute during the day (in the movie), just for kicks. Sounds like clever marketing to me. Photo at right is from Susan Riedl's Globe and Mail article.
“Quebec’s Belle de Jersey cheese is named in honour of one of the Jersey cows whose milk is used in its production. Known as “Miss Personality” of the herd, Belle (the cow) has been a frequent award winner in agricultural competitions including the Royal Winter Fair. Following the fortune of its namesake, Belle de Jersey, a soft, washed-rind cheese made from raw Jersey milk, has already won silver at the 2009 International Jersey Cheese Awards and this year was thrust onto international palates when it was served as part of the Canadian cheese plate at the G20 summit. Impressive for a fromagerie that only began making cheese in 2007. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from a recent Toronto Star story titled “Cheese Stores Say Quebec Rules Go Whey Too Far”:
Cheesemonger at Montreal's Fromagerie Atwater. Toronto Star photo by Andrew Chung
“MONTREAL–At the pungent Fromagerie Atwater, one of the best-known cheese shops in Montreal, patrons feast their eyes on a glass display case piled with cheeses.
With the help of the maroon-smocked experts behind the counter, patrons carefully choose their pleasures, with an increasing proportion from Quebec.
But unbeknownst to many, there is a cheese war going on in Quebec.
Since a listeriosis crisis sent Quebec into a frenzy last fall, you could cut the tension between cheesemakers and the provincial regulator with, well, a cheese knife.
Producers say the crisis was overblown, with millions of dollars in cheese thrown out. And the reaction since has been overkill, many add, especially those who use unpasteurized milk, said to make more flavourful cheese. Continue reading
This is from a Globe and Mail story from October 1, 2008 by Sue Riedl about a wonderful artisanal Quebec cheese, Alfred le Fermier, the likes of which we don’t make here in Ontario. So what’s the matter? — are we all a bunch of philistines? Or is it the war on “terroir” claiming another victim? Read on:
“… Alfred is a washed-rind, raw milk cheese that delivers phenomenal flavour. Once you slice into it, a supple, dense paste with small pinholes is revealed. A fragrant, sweet, floral aroma beckons. The flavour base is buttery with sweet, nutty notes and a woodsy taste closer to the edible rind. The rich taste develops over eight months as the wheels are ripened on spruce planks sourced from the family land.