Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheesehead pride

Our friend Jill doesn't like cheese, but we let her stay in Wisconsin anyway. I admit that I have not been a fan of milk ever since they served it to us warm and in a bag in Kindergarten. I had a friend in 6th grade that was allergic to ice cream (she would actually throw up). In this state of proud dairy lovers, these stories come as a shock to us. I heard that when margarine was first created it was illegal to sell it in Wisconsin (that may be rumor, you can fact-check it yourself).

To me, buying Wisconsin dairy products is a consumer decision that carries a lot of bang for the buck (yes, even when the organic milk is $6/gallon). Buying local milk supports the local economy, family farms, a rural landscape and reduces energy usage by less transportation. After all, do we really want to be second to California?

Milk and cheese are pretty easy as there are many options just at local grocery stores for conventional products. If you are looking for organic milk, it is Organic Valley and Wisconsin Organics (Horizon is from California). When I looked for locally made yogurt, it was harder to find a Wisconsin producer. I recently found a yummy local and organic yogurt produced south of Madison called Sugar River Dairy. I have found this locally at Hartland Market.

If you are interested in Wisconsin dairy artisans, check out this directory http://www.wisconsindairyartisan.com/artisans.html


Julie-Ann said...

I remember when it was illegal to sell "oleo" in Wisconsin. It was probably in the early 1960's. People would drive down to Illinois to get it and purchase a large quality to fill the orders placed by family and friends. Yuck!

I buy only butter and 99% of the time it is organic. Since I don't use that much of it, one stick can last me a long time and the rest of the pound keeps great in the feezer.

Earthbound Spirit said...

Actually, it was illegal to sell "colored" oleo. In WI you could buy oleo that, well, looked like lard with a pellet of dye that had to be broken and worked into the oleo. That was my childhood job sometimes - mixing the dye into the white oleo until it was sort of butter-colored. Since my mother had family in towns close to the WI-IL border, we would buy it whenever we'd visit - but just for ourselves.

Melissa said...

Is the sugar river yogurt organic? My kids love it, but I thought it was only sold at Outpost, Hartland Market, and Good Harvest because it was local.

I was a vegan for a couple of years; I considered a "dirty word" in Wisconsin. We eat quite a bit of dairy now (I'm making up for those vegan years now!).

An excellent organic cheese is Bellavitano Reserve. It tastes like a fruity young parmesan with all the yummy crunch. I've seen it at Gagliano's and Outpost.

Kristin said...

Sugar River yogurt is not organic that I can see, but cows are pasture raised. Often that means "organic practices" without the certification, but I don't know for sure on this company