Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Where's the cheese?

The answer to that question is pretty easy - the cheese is in Wisconsin! 
What could be more typical of Wisconsin than a cow decorated with many
types of cheese.
Just the other day we were talking to a man who doesn't live in Wisconsin. He remarked that in Wisconsin, grocery stores stock so much more cheese than the grocery stores in his state. Wisconsin does produce nearly 25% of all the cheese that's made in this country so it stands to reason that more of the product would be available in grocery stores.
Two weekends ago we were up nort' for my niece's wedding. We decided in stay in Stanley for the weekend. Since the wedding was late Saturday afternoon, we had time to explore a cheese factory in the area during the morning. We finally found LeGrander's Hillside Dairy south of town toward Thorp. 

We arrived at just the right time because Dan LaGrander, owner, was there and gave us a private tour of the facility.
The investment that Dan has made in his cheese factory
is in the millions, if not the tens of millions. 
We learned that LaGrander's produces about 70,000 pounds of cheese per day and operates 5 days/week with 40 employees. Dan's son, Randy, is a Master Cheesemaker. To earn this title, a cheesemaker has to have at least 10 years of experience before engaging in a 3-year program that includes an apprenticeship, course work, and a rigorous final written exam. Wisconsin is the only state to offer this program, patterned after similar European programs. 
Wisconsin's landscape used to be dotted with many more cheese factories than one can find today. The peak was in the 1920s when 2,800 existed. Today only 126 factories are left. However, this is still the most of any state in our country. Wisconsin cheesemakers also lead the country in the varieties of cheese they produce - 600. California cheesemakers come in a far second with only 250 varieties. Mozzarella cheese is the number one variety that is made in Wisconsin - probably because of all the pizza we eat! 
Even though the term, "cheesehead" can be a derogatory slur, many Wisconsinites, like me, are proud to be called one. 
During football season fans wear a cheesehead. We saw this fan in Orlando
in 2011at a bar where more patrons were wearing Packer gear than in any
Wisconsin bar that I've ever seen!
To find cheese factories and retail outlets, check out the Wisconsin cheese map. It's good to have with you when wandering Wisconsin. 

1 comment:

  1. Jeanne,

    I have acquired a Trailblazer camper with some property that i purchased. Would you be able to give me any more info on it? It's partially gutted, i'm not sure if i want to rebuild it or sell it. It has a section that hangs over the tongue of the trailer, I can't find any pictures online of one like it.