In honor of June Dairy Month I had the pleasure of enjoying an incredible, cheese-filled weekend in the Madison, WI area with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Truly, it was divine. A bus full of media and food bloggers traveled hundreds of miles to learn from 3 cheese makers, sample dozens of tasty, tasty morsels, eat 4 courses expertly prepared by Chef Dan Fox, and enjoy endless libations all in the name of schmooze.
Prepare yourself for a series of updates detailing what I experienced, see pictures of what I saw, and learn more about the special cheese making processes that do this state proud.
In the meantime, here are some Fun Farm Facts about Wisconsin milk and cheese production:
Wisconsin Leads the Nation In:
Sheep and goat milk production
Number of Dairy Farms (18,000)
Number of cheese plants (126)
Number of licensed cheese makers (1,290)
Total U.S. Cheese production (2 billion pounds, 26% of the nation’s cheese)
Number of Happy Cows (100%)*
90% of milk in Wisconsin goes to cheese making
Wisconsin wins more cheese awards than any other state and country combined (booyah)
Wisconsin ranks first among all states in the production of Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, Brick, Muenster, and Limburger cheeses.
Foreshadow…Limburger, though stinky, yes, is pretty delicious.
There are more Master Cheese Makers in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the world.
*Unproven, yet still likely true. Dunk your Oreos in that, California.
Cow Stats (or, Moo Measurements if you like alliteration):
In an average day a dairy cow will: eat approximately 90 pounds of food, drink a bathtub full of water, produce 5-6 gallons of milk, and weigh about 1,400 pounds.
Cows spend an average of 6 hours a day eating and an additional 8 hours chewing their cud. Most cows chew at a rate of at least 50 times per minute. Very few cows ever report symptoms of TMJ.
There are approximately 340-350 squirts of milk in a gallon. Milking machines were invented in 1865. It’s unknown how many farmers suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Every cow spot is like a snowflake – no two are alike.