Although my Alice travels keep me on my toes and take me all over the state, I was able to celebrate the recent holiday with my family. As we all sat around the table, ready to dive into the delicious meal, we took a moment to think about what we were thankful for.
I thought about how thankful I am for all the farmers in Wisconsin and everyone involved in agriculture. Each day that I visit a new place as Alice in Dairyland, I am constantly met with an enthusiasm for agriculture that never wavers. This enthusiasm is a true testament of how dedicated each individual in the industry is and why agriculture is so strong in our state.
When we finally dove into our meal, I had one more thing to be thankful for ... all the delicious food that comes from Wisconsin farms every day.
Of course, one of the foods I am thankful for is cheese. Wisconsin's cheese production topped out at over three-billion pounds last year. Our state has a long-standing tradition of making cheese and has quite a few claims to fame within the cheese making industry. We invented Colby cheese back in 1885, consistently produce more cheese than any other state and are the only state to produce Limburger.
Today, Wisconsin is also home to the only cheese maker in the nation that still uses a brick to press the whey from the curds when making Brick cheese. Widmer's Cheese Cellars located in Theresa, Wis., is home to this cheesemaker and has been making cheese the traditional way since 1922. They specialize in three main varieties - Brick, Colby and Cheddar and ship their cheese to cheese lovers near and far.
Crave Brothers Farm has started a new tradition on their first-generation dairy farm in Waterloo, Wis. They are producing Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese with renewable energy from the bio digester on their family's 1,500 cow dairy. Located right across the street, their cheese plant receives power and fresh milk from the farm every morning. The Crave Brothers specialize in Italian style cheeses and offer Mascarpone, farmer's rope and fresh Mozzarella balls.
Another uniquely Wisconsin dairy product that is turning heads comes from CTL Foods, LLC of Colfax. They have innovated a one-of-a-kind malted milk powder that can be used in ice cream treats, cakes and waffles. For their creativity, Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder was awarded first place at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product contest.
All three of these companies are part of the program Something Special from Wisconsin which highlights locally produced goods or services. There are nearly 500 companies that are a part of this program and all offer Uniquely Wisconsin goods. Started in 1983, Something Special from Wisconsin helps consumers easily and reliably identify Wisconsin made products and encourages them to buy local to support our Wisconsin farmers, communities and economy.
This holiday season, I have a lot to be thankful for and I hope you do, too. I encourage you to join me and give thanks by purchasing products from the Something Special from Wisconsin program. Whether it's hand-crafted cheese or malted milk powder, giving a Uniquely Wisconsin gift is a wonderful way to say thanks. Find the perfect product at www.somethingspecialwi.com.