What’s In A Name: Back Forty Artisan Cheese

The Oxford English Dictionary says that names are but arbitrary labels � but we don�t agree. Sure, that which we call a wine, by any other name would taste as sweet, but we think knowing it�s story gives it legs.

With that, we�re digging through some of Ontario�s most oddly named edibles and sharing their stories with you!


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BACK FORTY n. � 1. a remote and uncultivated or undeveloped piece of land of indefinite size (as on a farm). 2. A small farm nestled in the heart of the Lanark Highlands where cheesemaker Jeff Fenwick hand crafts artisanal cheeses of the highest quality.


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When asked why the name,  Jeff Fenwick says he didn�t name the business (they bought it four years ago), but the original farm that they bought from the owner was actually the back forty of an original property.

“It was sort of the back forgotten bush of the original homestead. We just relocated to another. The forgotten acreage. Farms were given 100-160 acres and a lot of people referred to it as their ?back forty?. It�s a rural term that get�s thrown around � basically it�s the bush.  We�re about 20 minutes west. It�s still a good name because we�re still tucked away along the Mississippi River.”

Jeff and Jenna work hard to create a sense of place for their cheeses. Using local dairy is just the start. Their Bonnechere is named for the the rugged Bonnechere River and the mysterious Bonnechere Caves, which are unique landmarks of the Ottawa Valley. The creamy, chalky Madawaska — named one of the ten best cheeses in Toronto according to Toronto Life — is named for the river of the same name — and our favorite, the Flower Station is named for the picturesque hamlet in Lanark County.

Now you know.


To find out more about Back Forty Artisan Cheese and their line-up of delicious cheeses, visit artisancheese.ca.

To discover other treasures in Lanark County, check out Lanark County Tourism and start planning your next edible adventure today!

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