History of Wisconsin Cheese
Wisconsin Cheeses have an illustrious heritage of more than 175 years of quality and craftsmanship. During this long and rich history, the art and science of cheese making have been captured in time-honored traditions that produce cheese varieties of unsurpassed excellence. See how Wisconsin cheese started below.
How Wisconsin Cheese Started
1830S – Pioneering Wisconsin farm wives begin making “kitchen” cheese from milk produced by their herds.
1839 – Just before large waves of Northeastern United States immigrants arrive in Wisconsin, the value of dairy products made in Wisconsin amounts to only $35,677.
1841 – Anne Pickett of Lake Mills makes the first official Wisconsin cheese by adding milk from her neighbor’s cows to that of her own small herd.
1840S-1850S – European immigrants begin arriving in Wisconsin and within a generation, Wisconsin’s landscape is dotted with dairy farmers from 50 different ethnic backgrounds.
1850 – The 1850 census records reveal 90% of the state’s population lives on farms and 400,283 pounds of cheese are made in Wisconsin.
1855 – Wheat production in Wisconsin drastically decreases as the chinch bug and depleted soils make dairying an economical agriculture opportunity.
1859 – Hiram Smith, a farmer and a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, founds a full-scale cheese factory.
1864 – Chester Hazen builds the first traditional cheese factory in Fond du Lac County, in the town of Ladoga.
This is just the beginning, explore the timeline here to learn the full story.
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