One of the reasons I love the warmer weather is the proliferation of farmer’s markets around the city. The one nearest me, Appletree farmer’s market, is open year-round – but somehow I only start going when the snows have melted and the vendors have moved their booths outside. Talking to the people working the stalls gives you a new appreciation for food and a connection with the people who produce it; one that you’ll never find at a regular grocery store.
I became acquainted with Monforte Dairy when my brother came home one day from a trip to the Healthy Butcher with a round of briny, smoky cheese. Bauman’s Smoked remains one of my favourite cheeses to this day and was a whopper of an introduction to Monforte, so when I saw their stall at Appletree I was thrilled. In addition to cheeses, they produce meats and crackers, and everything is made in small batches so it all goes rather quickly. My sister and I had our eyes on a funny little vacuum-wrapped package that looked like a bundle of cloth, and brought it home with us for $10.
As soon as we removed the plastic, a wonderful smoky smell permeated throughout the room… it was all bundled with care like a little gift – sewn together at the end and side, and even had the name of the person who made it on a tag. Thanks, David Em!
Unstitching the bundle with a knife to reveal the contents inside, I couldn’t wait to cut myself a slice of sausage – but this little ritualistic motion certainly amplified the anticipation!
And here it is! I never liked summer sausage when it was from the supermarket, and wondered what there was to like. Well, I can’t find anything to dislike about this. It’s meaty, smoky, and has a much fuller, rounder flavour than its grocery store “counterpart”, with none of the weird oiliness.