Sow & Tell with 100km Foods

Great products also come with great stories. We’re firm believers that a cheese, a beer, a wine, the list goes on…all taste better when we have a connection to who is behind the product and how its made.  Not a surprising statement if you’ve been reading our blog over the past few years – we love sharing these good food stories. But this isn’t about us – it’s about 100km Foods and their awesome new series “Sow & Tell“.  

Every month or so, a different producer (that sells through 100km Foods) takes center stage on their blog. In addition to the profile, 100km Foods and the farmer team up to offer special discounts on some of their unique and tasty products.  Win win!

Here’s who they have featured to date – along with a few things we learned while reading. The more you know, right?

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The stunning and now legendary canola sorbet – made using Pristine Gourmet oil by Jason Bangerter at Langdon Hall #FeastOn !

1. Pristine Gourmet

For their first profile, 100km Foods went for an OG fan favourite – Pristine Gourmet has been on their roster since the distribution company started. Not hard to see why – this Feast On Preferred Purveyor has some truly exceptional products. Including edamame and dried beans. Yes in Ontario! It still blows our minds sometimes.

Did you know? A fourth generation farmer, owner Jason Persall designed and built his original press mill, which he used to turn canola, sunflower and soybean into a homegrown oil rush. 

2. Monforte Dairy 

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Luckily for ewe, the Monforte market game is strong. You can find them at a smattering of markets across the GTA, including Evergreen Brick Works. Heading Stratford way? Make sure to stop in at their Wellington osteria for lunch.

You might not think of cheese as a seasonal product – but Monforte does. They milk according to natural life-cycles and break between winter and spring so their animals’ milk levels can rebound.  That means you’ll see their market offerings shift from soft, fresh cheeses in the spring to harder, aged cheeses in the fall.  

Did you know? Owner Ruth Klahsen started out as a chef before transitioning to our dairy godmother. She graduated in the very first class of the Stratford Chefs’ School back in the 1980s.

3. Hillside Gardens

This farm has few things in common with Pristine Gourmet. Owner Ron Gleason is also a fourth generation farmer and along with his team, Hillside Gardens was one of the earliest adopters of 100km Foods. Product-wise, is where the paths diverge. At Hillside Gardens, smack in the heart of the Holland Marsh, they’re growing what else but carrots, onions, beets and other root vegetables. To keep a year-round supply of their coveted veggies, they’ve expanded operations to Georgia as well. 

Did You Know? Hillside Gardens took home a Minister’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in 2009 for their traceability system, which lets them track a crop straight from seed to (retail) store. 

4. Ontario Honey Creations 

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Co-founded by Sarah Allison-Chorabik and her husband Peter, Ontario Honey Creations sources from apiaries across Toronto and the GTA.  Honey from each region is harvested separately and seasonally – a process that allows unique elements of terroir to filter through.  The raw, unpasteurized honey is then turned into artisanal honey vinegar through a process called static fermentation (science!). And good news for you – it’s available online

Did You Know? A portion of the proceeds from each sale go to the Toronto Bee Rescue, which provides free and humane removals of honeybees and swarms throughout the GTA. Oh, and Sarah runs the Toronto Bee Rescue too. Talk about a bzzy bee. 

5. Thornloe Cheese 

Up in Northern Ontario – Temiskaming Valley to be exact – they’ve been making seriously great cheese for over 75 years. When the plant nearly closed a decade ago, a group of determined farmers formed a co-op to save it from extinction.  They installed new aging rooms and refreshed the production process to compete in the marketplace. We’re so glad that they did.

Thornloe is best known for their selection of blue cheeses and their cheese curds, a popular car snack for visitors to the Cheese Factory and Store.  And there are a lot of those visitors – over 3M litres of milk run through the factory each year. Not bad for a town of 123 people. 

Did You Know? The striking Devil’s Rock – known for its pyramid shape dipped in black wax – shares its name and shape with a 600ft steep lookout point along the Temiskaming Shores.  

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