Ruth Klahsen

Ruth Klahsen, owner of Monforte Dairy

Local Food Hero 2011

Ruth Klahsen is Monforte Dairy’s owner and lead cheesemaker. She has worked as a chef while simultaneously teaching at Stratford Chefs School for ten years. Monforte Dairy is a successful southwestern Ontario artisanal cheese company, founded in 2004, that produces a variety of extraordinary cheeses, and supplies five-star restaurants, leading wineries, food retailers, and markets throughout Ontario.

Unique Food System Problem

Monforte recognizes that innovation and change can be beneficial, but believes that mass manufactured food has taken food processing technology too far. Agriculture is no longer practiced on a human scale and consequently the attention and care provided by smaller scale production, as well as the potential physical and mental health benefits for food growers and producers, are lost.

Unique Food System Solution

Monforte provides an opportunity for buyers and vendors to be an agent of change in how quality food is produced, distributed, marketed and sold in Ontario. In making delicious cheeses, Monforte utilizes sustainable small-scale agricultural methods that support local farming and shepherding initiatives. Klahsen revitalized the company’s business model in 2010, nicknamed the “Monforte Renaissance.” She believes this new business model will encourage growth in micro-production, which in turn will make sustainable agriculture truly a way of life for farmers, while offering consumers higher quality locally-produced products.