A Proposal

Read the letters to the Canadian Dairy Commission, The Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Dairy Processors Association of Canada.

Local Wholesale

A proposal regarding shopkeeper-distributors under the Milk Act

 

For almost 60 years the Milk Act has existed to “stimulate, increase and improve the producing of milk within Ontario.” This proposal concerns the shopkeeper-distributor designation in the Milk Act as it relates to the production and distribution of ice cream.

 

40 years ago, it was almost impossible to find craft beer on Ontario beer store shelves, due in part to regulations that simply did not fit, and did not nurture a local craft beer industry. Today, craft beer defines Ontario and any visit by anyone to any town in Ontario is an opportunity to try the local brew. Local tourism agencies promote their breweries, and these breweries are part of the fabric of their community.

 

This proposal seeks to offer solutions to allow shopkeeper-distributors (S-Ds) to sell their ice cream in local stores in a way that addresses safety and allows S-Ds to create a local, artisan ice cream industry that doesn’t require overwhelming financial investments that in effect remove the incentive to be on local shelves, thereby diminishing choice for local consumers.

 

Proposal 1 – Geography

 

If an S-D can sell in their store, what would it require for them to have their product sold down the street or around the block? S-Ds are not looking to produce in a city like Ottawa to distribute in a city like Thunder Bay; they are not looking to fill the shelves of Costcos throughout the province. They want to sell where they produce. From the perspective of the consumer, this means that they know where their ice cream was made, and who made it. A S-D is accessible to the customer in a local market.

 

Proposed: S-Ds be restricted to a pre-defined local area for distribution that is reasonable in terms of a consumer’s ability to visit the S-D should they wish to.

 

Proposal 2 – Labelling

 

S-Ds are not required by CFIA to provide ingredient or nutrition labels on their products for items they sell at the site of production. Beginning in the new year, CFIA will require all wholesale food products to display nutrition labelling and ingredient statements that include the address and contact info for the producer of the product. 

 

Proposed: That CFIA labelling be recognized under the Milk Act as an adequate measure for consumers to know sufficient information about the product they are consuming and how to contact the producer with any complaint or concern. 

 

Proposal 3 – Transportation

 

Wholesaling of ice cream often outside of a local area can involve several shippers, across Ontario or across Canada. As a result, wholesalers can see their product transfer hands several times, actions that require tracking and enhanced measures at source to ensure safety. 

 

Proposed: Shipments of ice cream by S-Ds to local retailers would be required to take place in vehicles owned and operated by the S-D, based on the principle of continuous control of the product from production to distribution.

 

Proposal 4 – Tracking, Testing and Reporting

 

Quality and safety are the reasons that S-Ds are allowed to sell on-site in the first place. By establishing control at the site of production, consumers can be assured that their product is safe. They also enjoy the benefit of supporting unique  local products. Supplying local stores with local ice cream further strengthens the principle of supporting local as it allows for artisan ice cream makers to shape the local market, similar to craft beer, and establishes local ecosystems as a result. 

 

S-Ds track their production and know which batch is where at all times.This principle can be easily extended to local distribution where both entities have a visible, local stake in their communities. As a result, S-Ds can use their tracking, test their batches and report their results to the ministry, but also publicly, similar to health inspection reports.

 

Proposed: S-Ds that wish to sell off-site in their defined local area, work with OMAFRA to ensure that tracking, testing and reporting addresses food safety. It is proposed that regulation 761 (82) be amended to prescribe the tracking, testing and reporting of ice cream made from already pasteurised mix. It is further proposed that this testing be made available to the public via the OMAFRA website. In doing so, this regime would create the designation of shopkeeper/”local” distributor. This designation would apply only to the specific geographic area where the shopkeeper operates. This designation would be in lieu of being a licensed dairy, the costs of which are prohibitive to shopkeeper ice cream shops, and are in effect a barrier to local wholesaling.

 

Taken together, these four proposals are presented to address what we believe is an opportunity to make Ontario known in North America as having the best ice cream anywhere! It is an opportunity to support unique local products, small businesses, and to reflect the intent of  the Milk Act and its goal to stimulate, increase and improve the producing of milk within Ontario.

 

Read the letters to the Canadian Dairy Commission, The Dairy Farmers of Canada and the Dairy Processors Association of Canada.

A thank you  (Part I)

There is no other way to say it except to simply say thank you. The past few days, while a blur, will over time, become a blip.  We will never forget the overwhelming support and goodwill from a community that included people from all across our amazing city, and from many other places too.
 
We want to thank the many who reached out to us with offers of assistance on the next steps. Thanks to you, you have brought an issue forward with our provincial representatives that there is an opportunity here to update regulations to accommodate small enterprises and reflect the realities of life in 2022. We know there can be more than one path to an outcome. All we ask is for our representatives to see what lies ahead as an opportunity and not a threat. A huge thank you to our Mayor, our MP and MPP, and local city councilors and community leaders who were a part of that effort.

 
Maybe some of you reading this are old enough to remember the craft beer scene 40 years ago. Back then, there was no craft beer. Just the big breweries, and big efforts by them to dominate shelf space, and crowd out the competition. Today, craft beer isn’t just in Ontario, craft beer is part of Ontario’s personality. Today, it’s hard to imagine a visit to any city, town, or village, without a visitor seeking out the local brew, a brew that the locals have loved and supported.
 
That could be the future of artisanal ice cream in Ontario. It certainly is that elsewhere! Imagine what our provincial landscape could look like in the next few years if we see what we saw over the past week for what it is: a love of what’s local.
 
Because local is about more than shopping local. It’s about the pride of a community. It is also quality of life, entrepreneurship, and supporting those around us. Local is about relationships, the relationships that cement human interaction, something we used to just take for granted, and that now in our digital age, has become more precious and meaningful than ever before.
 
The government first introduced the Milk Act in 1965. While there have been many changes to that Act since then, it sometimes still feels like it’s 1965 when you’re a small producer. 
 
Ottawa is home to many wonderful artisanal ice cream makers. It could be home to many more with many more products on store shelves with the right approach at the provincial level.
 
As the blur of last week becomes a blip in time, what remains is the opportunity for change. Let’s see it for what it is and make ice cream work, for all. 🙂
 
 

A thank you (Part II)

Okay! Enough with the serious stuff! It’s ice cream! And as much as we want to say thank you – it’s way more fun to show our thanks! And so that’s why we’re announcing the Pints Across Ottawa Tour 2022!

And what is the Pints across Ottawa Tour? It will start with The Merry Dairy truck visiting our (now former dairy) wholesalers stretching from Kanata to Orleans with an hour or so of soft serve, and pints at the truck, either pre-ordered, or for sale there with a portion of all sales going to the cause of each wholesaler’s choice! We’re calling them Pint Stops!

Dates and times will be announced soon on our website, in our newsletter and on social media. In the meantime, support your favourite local ice cream maker and let’s have some fun! Who knows, maybe there will even be t-shirts ;-p

 

National Ice Cream Month Contest Ballot

Click on the image above to download and print your ballot!

Don’t forget to bring it or mail/email it to 102 Fairmont Avenue, Ottawa, K1Y 1X6 by 9pm on July 31, 2022

 

Or get your own copy of Great Scoops and be entered with each purchase!

(Contest open to residents of Ontario only)

 

Yeppers. It’s been just over 10 years since that first truck took that first trip down Stirling Avenue to meet our first customers! And because we’re feeling all grown up, and because it’s National Ice Cream Month, we’d love to give away an ice cream maker to go with your very own copy of Great Scoops: Recipes from a Neighbourhood Ice Cream Shop, which tells the story of The Merry Dairy and shares 80 dairy and vegan nut-free ice cream recipes!

But how?

Starting right now until 8 pm July 31st, you can enter to win your very own ice cream maker or a Merry Dairy Ice Cream Truck Tent!

Simply order a Great Scoops Recipe book (or enter through the no purchase required ballot in-store or print it at home and send it to us) to be added to the draw. 
 
***No purchase necessary; free ballot entry at 102 Fairmont Ave, or online*** (One entry per household please. Open to Ontario residents only 🙂
 
First, some questions (and hopefully, some answers)
 
How does it work?
It’s easy! Every copy of Great Scoops purchased at The Merry Dairy between now and Sunday, July 31st at 8 pm will be entered in the draw to win this prize. The prize will be drawn on Sunday night, and the winners will be notified that night.

What is the prize?
There are 3 prizes to be won, which also means 3 winners! Two lucky people will win an ice cream maker that was featured in the making of our recipe book, which includes; the Breville Smart Scoop (approx. $500) or the Elite Gourmet 4QT Old Fashioned Electric Ice Cream Maker (approx. $85). 
 


 
 
Does your little one want to serve your homemade ice from their very own truck? Well, the third prize is an ice cream truck tent! (approx. $55) This wonderful tent is (an almost uncannily perfect) replica of The Merry Dairy soft-serve truck, and is great for outdoor servings of ice cream, mud pies, rocks in a dish, or anything else your little one can dream up! 
 
But do I really need an ice cream machine? 
Not necessarily! Making ice cream can be as easy as rock salt, ice, and elbow grease! We have a breakdown of ‘which machine should I buy?’ [pg. 16] in Great Scoops, explaining that a machine is not needed (but it works up less of a sweat!). 
What if I already purchased my book from The Merry Dairy?
All good! … All books purchased from https://themerrydairy.com/national-ice-cream-month-contest-ballot/way back when up to now from The Merry Dairy are eligible. If you purchased in person at 102 Fairmont, as opposed to online here, you can fill out this ballot to register your entry.

And what if I purchased my book elsewhere, or I have a library copy, or I just like to enter contests?
You can fill out a no purchase required entry here(one per household).

Have any more questions?
Send ’em on over via Instagram @themerrydairy or email at info@themerrydairy.com

 
 

Canada Day 2022

Last year Canada Day felt different as we absorbed that the suffering of children in residential schools was even greater than many could have imagined. Memories carried in the hearts of loved ones, as faded as they might be over time, have the chance for all of us to know their names, and remember that they were loved before they were taken away and abandoned by a system that simply didn’t care.

 

And this year, as Canada Day approaches, it’s the world that feels different. A senseless slaughter, (tragically only one of several around the world), a shocking school massacre, the theft of the right of choice, and the millions who have succumbed to a pandemic that is over in deed, but not yet in fact.  Throughout history, our capacity to deal with this world must be seen through the eyes of children. Our existence, whatever its meaning, must be to comfort them, to protect them, and to be a source of goodness, laughter, and potential.

 

As a little ice cream shop, there’s not much we can do, except perhaps to be a place where there is joy, where kids have fun, and yes, even to be a distraction from it all.

 

This Canada Day, we will be open. And we’d love it if you could join us. This year, more than any other, is a tough one for all, as things cost more and our dollars buy less.  And so, on July 1, it’s free kids cones. And if you don’t have kids, all good, you can have a kids cone too! This Canada Day, more than two years into a pandemic, on a weekend in our city that feels so unpredictable, we’d love to see you.

Press Release

Rhubarb Stalk Exchange Set to Open for 2022 Harvest

$Rhubcoin$ returns!

Here’s how it works!


Ottawa – May 31, 2022 –  Unfettered by recent events, rhubarb patches across the fair city of Ottawa have flourished. Is it a weed in need of a deed? Fret not, rhubarbers! It is now time to trim that patch, bring your catch, and then down the hatch with rhubcoin redeemable for tasty treats from the Realm of Rhubarb at 102 Fairmont Avenue.

Countless backyard experts, far too many to be individually named in this release, have ruminated on the state of their rhubarb patch, with one common question. My patch is out of control! When does this darned Rhubarb Stalk Exchange open?  Well, grab those stalks. That answer is now. 

The opening of the Rhubarb Stalk Exchange at 102 Fairmont Avenue means that rhubarb from your own or even the backyard of an acquaintance or unsuspecting neighbour can be converted into highly valuable $Rhubcoin$ using this overly complex formula developed by a leading crypto expert.

But what about NFT’s? The Merry Dairy doesn’t know about NFT’s but can confirm rhubarb from the ground is a better bet than rhubarb on the blockchain, and the best way to extract the most value out of rhubcoin, is to get it out of the ether as quickly as possible, and exchange at The Merry Dairy for pints, scoops and, yes, even merch.

But what if I have no patch? Fear not! For what we don’t know about NFT’s we do know about poetry, and your poem is a scoop in the making! Submit your ode to rhubarb, by Jun 8 and get your own rhubcoin worth a scoop of the flavour of your choice and get automatically entered a draw for even more rhubcoin!

The Rhubarb Stalk Exchange can close at any time at the whim of The Merry Dairy’s Chief Rhubarb Regulator.  The exchange is open noon-9pm Tuesdays to Sundays.

 

 

The Merry Dairy Sourdough Project

Sourdough anyone?

 

It was early 2020. The pandemic had just been declared and Marlene and Amelia knew that would mean big changes to how The Merry Dairy would operate. Pivot was still a new word back then as everyone was faced with the reality of life under lockdown. Marlene and Amelia revisited an idea Amelia had pitched just before the pandemic .. what about sharing Merry Dairy recipes in a book? This would turn out to be our sourdough project of sorts, involving choosing, testing, writing, photographing, re-testing, editing, re-testing, designing, printing and finally delivering a recipe book.

 

 

And so this – Great Scoops: Recipes from a Neighbourhood Ice Cream Shop – this became our sourdough project. Like sourdough, it was a labour of love. Unlike sourdough, it showed up on skids, ready to be shared.

 

And ready they are, available now, directly from The Merry Dairy’s Shopify store, for pickup, home delivery, or shipping, or starting May 3 from your local bookstore, from Chapters/Indigo and from Amazon Canada and Amazon US and Barnes & Noble.

 

It’s 80 dairy and vegan, nut-free, ice cream recipes, sorted into the seasons (just the four seasons, and not Ottawa’s eleven seasons), but the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, each in the beauty of their anticipation, and the glory of the senses they evoke.

 

It’s also a self-help book, as in how to help yourself make ice cream, with the simplest of ways or with the fanciest of machines.

 

It’s a philosophy, albeit a frozen one perhaps!, that ice cream can be for all, and that all should share in the joy that an outing to an ice cream shop brings.

 

It’s a story of how, ten years ago, Marlene, knowing that her peanut-allergy child couldn’t visit an ice cream shop, found a little Grumman Stepvan, outfitted it, and started selling nut-free frozen custard on the Streets of Sunny Hintonburg.

 

It’s a story of how Amelia found herself at The Merry Dairy, bringing the joy of creativity and the satisfaction of quality to a lineup of flavours and styles that have won over customers in every one of Ottawa’s amazing and captivating neighbourhoods, including the Hintonburg neighbourhood that has been so supportive of this enterprise.

 

Finally, it’s the story of an amazing group of people coming together to make this sourdough project into a beautiful book – Great Scoops – people like co-author Anne DesBrisay, whose beautiful and colourful writing brought Great Scoops to life, and photographer Christian Lalonde, owner of Photolux Studio in Little Italy, whose photos throughout Great Scoops burst with joy and life. Then there’s the team at Friesen Printing in Winnipeg, who printed a beautifully bound, hardcover book, ahead of schedule, with the added bonus of using stock made from FSC-certified and 100% post-consumer content.

 

A special shout-out goes to the Figure 1 publishing team, who helped our sourdough form, rise and finally become this book. Their catalogue, which includes books like Ottawa’s Coconut Lagoon: Recipes from a South Indian Kitchen, now also includes this.

 

None of this could have happened without the entire Merry Dairy team pitching in, helping, tasting, advising and most of all, making room for the test kitchen, test freezer and test everything we needed to make Great Scoops work. People like Holly Laham, owner of the new Holly’s Hot Chicken on Armstong St. People like Iona, an ice cream maker and engineer who immigrated from Hong Kong, and is now a member of Canada’s public service. People like Rachel, now en route to being an elementary school teacher, all of whom kept the kitchen humming, as the recipes kept coming. And the new team members like Kat, Tessa and Chelsea as well as the rest of the team that has been at the centre of the many pivots each wave of this pandemic has brought. So thank you to Ely, Maddy, Sarah, Hannah, Ashrakat, Curtis, Russell, Kate, Sander, Mika, Drew, Gerda, Katherine, Becca, Ella, Lok, Nadia, Theo, Juliana, Maggie, Sara, Malcolm, Eva, Quinn, Mia, Emma, Lindsay, Laura, Leila, Bridget, Camille, Lucy, Brynn, Kevin, Mikaela, Jayme, Michelle, Scott, Delino, Peter, Caroline, Margaret, Mila, Ella B, Ella C, Julia, Alex, Zoe & Dylan. (And to see the rest of the acknowledgments, you’ll just have to get the book!)

 

And finally, to our customers, whose support and patience with each pandemic pivot, make being at The Merry Dairy such a joy. Whatever neighbourhood you’re in, thank you so much for making us a part of your home and your neighbourhood.  It’s our great joy to invite you to an outdoor, distanced, ice cream social on May 3 at 102 Fairmont (RSVP here), where you can redeem your free cone ice cream bookmark that comes with every book purchase 🙂

 

So come for the book, stay for the ice cream party!

 

Marlene Haley and Amelia Ryan

 

This is an invitation to launch of The Merry Dairy's new recipe book Great Scoops. The event is on May 3 from 4-8pm at The Merry Dairy

Time Capsules …

 

Over the past two months or so, passersby of 102 Fairmont would have noticed a whole bunch of construction as we replaced an old basement floor and reinforced our foundation. While almost all of that work is done, the last part of that work opens up an opportunity to bury a time capsule on the front stoop of The Merry Dairy!

It will remain underground for at least 25 years and we’d love help in adding items! What sort of items? They need to be small enough to fit in a moderately sized container 🙂 They should be memorable and fun items. These can be photos of your neighbourhood, drawings, a piece of technology, a mixtape, a magazine or newspaper, a letter to the future, or your own list of your questions for a future generation to ponder!

But wait! 25 years is an awfully long time, even for adults. So what about a second time capsule? One that gets opened a little sooner, like say after a year, just to see what’s changed, and also for anyone who might want to reclaim their items! This time capsule would not be buried in concrete, but would be kept at The Merry Dairy and opened during March break next year! 

We’ll entomb the time capsule later in early April 🙂

Wondering what to bring? We’ll post a photo album here of all items receieved! In the meantime, here are a few sites for inspiration!

How to Create a Time Capsule
How to Make a Time Capsule for Kids
Time Capsule ideas

 

And finally … 

 

 

 

Ice Cream for Breakfast @ Home – 2022 edition!

National Ice Cream For Breakfast Day returns Saturday, February 5th!
On-line orders now open. Here’s the lineup!

𝙏𝙚𝙖, 𝘾𝙤𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙚 𝙤𝙧 𝙃𝙤𝙩 𝘾𝙤𝙘𝙤𝙖?

🫖 Vegan Chai Tea ~ * 𝙉𝙚𝙬 with Masala Chai Classic by @sloanetea steeped in cream before churning
☕️ Vegan Coffee with chocolate freckle
🍫 Hot Cocoa
🫖 Earl Grey

𝘾𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡, 𝙏𝙤𝙖𝙨𝙩, 𝙤𝙧 𝙎𝙪𝙜𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙏𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙨?

🥣 Snap Merry Pop 𝙉𝙚𝙬 ~marshmallow fluff and rice crispie square treats
🥣Fruit Loops 𝙉𝙚𝙬 ~this year we infused Fruit Loops in cream and tossed even more in before churning!
🥣Flake News! Vegan Cornflake Brittle with a blueberry swirl in a vegan cereal milk base!
🥣Grape-nuts
🍞 Buttered Toast & Jam
🍓 Strawberry & Rhubarb Swirl 𝙉𝙚𝙬 ~our rhubarb harvest from 2021 cooked and swirled into our classic Strawberry. There’s a harvest of rhubarb poetry on our website read by our team. 

𝙋𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙢𝙚𝙡𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙤𝙥 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙥𝙞𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙤𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙛𝙛𝙡𝙚!

🧇Ottawa Valley Maple ~always made with dark syrup from @couttsmapleproducts
🧇Damn Good Vanilla
🧇Roasted Banana

As we enter the home stretch of winter, in this 3rd year A.C. (anno corono), you can bring home the bacon, er ice cream, as National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day at The Merry Dairy, becomes National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day *with* The Merry Dairy. That means, once again, – it’s a distanced, at-home Ice Cream for Breaffast Day – all across Ottawa!

And whether, as the songs go, you live in a Brick House, or in Apartment #9, Our House, whether it’s full of Madness, Young at heart, or Magnetic, My House, on a Country Road, or if it’s simply Almost Home, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, which marks the technical half-way point of winter, is at Home this year.

All in three easy steps

Step 1: Peruse The Merry Dairy Ice Cream for Breakfast shop and check out all the breakfast flavours, choose a topping and then choose your waffles! And yes, gluten-free & plant-based options available! 

Step 2: Then choose Thursday or Friday night or early Saturday morning contact-less pickup or delivery at checkout!  And yes, it’s free delivery anywhere in the City of Ottawa! And pickup starts at 7am at 102 Fairmont!

Step 3: Sit back and enjoy the National Ice Cream for Breakfast Saturday morning cartoons at home playlist  all morning long until you can’t bear it no more.

All that’s left is to enjoy Breakfast!

 

 

 

Holidays & Hunkering Down & Pints4OurTeam

This is a screenshot of a staff call announcing our hunkering down

Some of The Merry Dairy team that were on a video call on Monday, December 20, 2021 learning about our hunkering down. We wish you a Merry Christmas!

 

We love the holiday season. It’s a chance to have fun, make fun flavours and do fun things. This year we got to work with partners in the community like OrKidstra, and with the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association, and the Golden Knights Hockey Association in fun fundraising efforts!

 

What we don’t love is Omicron. And as many have said, the virus doesn’t care. And while we do not have workplace cases of Covid, there are just too many people with too many instances of contact or possible contact. 

 

To limit contact as much as possible, we have decided to stop scooping and end ice cream production starting today. Unfortunately, that also means the end of the name of the day contest, which was to run until Dec 23. We promise we’ll make up the days sometime in the new year!

 

But we can still make it special for a few special someones – and those people are Merry Dairy team members, many of whom are also completing high school semesters or finishing post-secondary exams. Beginning today and lasting until our holiday flavours sell out, 97% of all sales of our in-stock holiday pints will be shared among our team members. (And the other 3%? That goes to OrKidstra!).

 

Pickups and deliveries will continue as scheduled until December 23. Pickups will take place at our takeaway window between noon and 8pm until December 23 and deliveries will be between 3 and 7pm (weather permitting) today as well until December 23.

 

But the Grinch never really stole Christmas. Cindy-Lou Who reminded us of that on Christmas morning. Here’s to happiness wherever we find it this holiday season.