M-C Dairy First Delivery Truck
Lviv, Ukraine, 1927
a brief history of
M-C Dairy Maslo Soyuz (Ukrainian: Масло-Союз)
For centuries life was a struggle in the villages and small towns in Galicia (Halychyna) of Western Ukraine. By the end of the 19th century, economic conditions and quality of life deteriorated such that many Ukrainian peasants could not afford to feed their families, let alone build a better future. Combined with the constant pressure of the repressive policies of the ruling authorities, Ukrainians began emigrating West including to countries like Canada.
Despite these conditions, in the early 1900s, students in Western Ukraine organized cooperatives. And in 1905 the dairy workers among them founded Maslo Soyuz (Ukrainian: "Масло-Союз") or literally "Butter Union". In the beginning Maslo Soyuz was a small operation, but quickly grew. Instead of selling their milk, often at a loss, to
institutional entities, Ukrainian dairy farmers brought their milk to the new M-C Dairy cooperative to create finished dairy products. Soon M-C Dairy branches flourished across Galicia and they began exporting dairy products beyond Ukraine.
Within several years M-C Dairy became one of the largest dairy manufacturers in Europe. By 1931, M-C Dairy was exporting over 800,000 kgs of butter alone annually to Western Europe - a figure excluding production for the domestic market in Galicia.
During this successful period, M-C Dairy financed Ukrainian libraries, schools, theatres, Ukrainian language activities and culture events in the villages and small towns of Western Ukraine. Unfortunately, when Pacification of Ukrainians in Galicia began in the early 1930s, many M-C Dairy offices and branches were targeted and destroyed by ruling authorities.
M-C Dairy endured during this period, yet by the mid-1930s, Hitler had ascended to power in Germany, European markets began to close and eventually World War Two began. Soon thereafter, the Nazi and Soviet Armies invaded Ukraine and M-C Dairy was forced to cease dairy production in its homeland. After the war the directors fled West, first to Munich, Germany. But then later, a few directors including Andrew Palij, emigrated to Canada and settled in Toronto to begin a new chapter of M-C Dairy.
In 1955, Palij registered M-C Dairy Ltd. in Ontario and production of M-C Dairy products began anew in Canada. However some dairy products that were popular in Ukraine, e.g. bryndza (sheep milk cheese) and creamed cottage cheese, did not win the palette of the largely English/British population who dominated Toronto during the 1950s.
Market conditions were also challenging. For example, a stable supply of fresh milk was difficult procure. And there were no Ukrainian dairy farmers to work with in the farming communities outside Toronto. Given this environment, the newly founded M-C Dairy enterprise failed.
Yet despite these challenges, one of the dairy workers, Mr. Bolchak acquired the modest facility (approximately 100 square metres in size) from the directors and production resumed and M-C Dairy persevered.
In 1983, my parents at Future Bakery began making syrnyky - petite pancakes made with soft white cheese. My parents scoured the markets in Toronto for the best soft cheese to make our Future Bakery syrnyky. And the best soft cheese was from M-C Dairy. Then I began to look closely at their operation. Production was quite small, but the quality of their product was phenomenal. No other dairy product available on the market came close to matching M-C Dairy in quality, flavour and taste.
During this time I consulted closely with M-C Dairy owner, Mr. Bolchak. In 1990 he said to me "Borys, if you spend six months studying and mastering our entire dairy production processes for all of our products, I will sell you the business." And I did just that. In 1991 Future Bakery acquired M-C Dairy.
Then I built a brand new M-C Dairy facility with a much larger production capacity because there was promising market potential.
To this day M-C Dairy follows three principles:
1. Products must be natural
2. Products must be traditionally made
3. Products must be the best in market
In the west food products are typically manufactured by the cheapest cost then marketed
and sold on popularity, e.g. advertising, packaging, branding, etc.. By contrast, our dairy
products are not mass produced nor is production automated. Similarly, dairy production is
not accelerated with artificial manufacturing techniques. Today we still do everything by hand.
We are confident that if a customer does a blind, side-by-side taste test of competitive products with M-C Dairy products, they will choose M-C Dairy.
Try M-C Dairy today and judge for yourself.