From a very old family recipe, that remains a closely guarded secret, this mustard is hand-made by the Benedictine Sisters at Queen of Angels Monastery. The proceeds help feed a small community of local homeless people, and migrant families.
I remember it was a typical hot, dry day in August. I wanted to get a short trip to the Farmer’s Market in before the day was gone. So many beautiful fruits and vegetables to pick from. I was in heaven. Almost.
I passed a booth with 2 ladies with bright aprons selling…hmmm, let me see, what’s in those bottles? Mustard? And it’s called Monastery Mustard? Why? I looked around to get a hint. Up on their big banner, behind where they stood, was printed “Benedictine Sisters”. Oh, okay. Of Mt. Angel. Okay, too coincidental. There’s something more here, there’s bound to be a good story.
I walked over and introduced myself to one of the ladies, who turned out to be Sister Terry. I began to ask her about the mustard and how it came about, and I was intrigued. We exchanged information and I contacted her in a few days to come down to Mt Angel to visit, talk, and film the making of their mustard.
Community life is important to these Sisters. The community in their Monastery, the town community of Mt. Angel, and the larger community they reach through their participation at local farmer’s markets. And I think, in part, that’s what Sustainability speaks to. Acting locally, participating in your community, has an effect, eventually, on a much larger, global level. Like water rings from a single drop of water, it spreads outward.
After filming the making the mustard, and seeing how it’s made (and about it’s intent) Lynn and I bought a couple of jars. I had not yet tasted any of their mustard. It was mid-afternoon and we stopped to pick up a sandwich at a local shop. Once in the car, sandwich in hand, I opened a jar of Glorious Garlic, and took a small taste. And then another, and yet another. It was hard to stop. I had never tasted a mustard quite as good. Now I was in heaven. At least my taste buds were!
Curt Ellis has a definition of Sustainability that I agree with: “It’s food you want to eat when you know it’s backstory”. This fits in to what I learn about foods more and more.