Wisconsin has not always been the dairy state, but cheese is a notable part of its heritage. Capturing the voices of farmers, milk haulers, makers, and graders, Jerry Apps provides a rich view into the history of cheese in the state, beginning with its humble origins in farmhouse kitchens. As he explores the extraordinary diversity of cheese products, he peppers his lively narrative with obscure lore.
In this updated edition of a classic, Apps examines tumultuous changes in the business over the past twenty years, including the impacts of corporate megafarms and the rise of artisanal producers. Vivid historical photographs and striking portraits of modern family-operated factories reveal the delicate balance between art and science that goes into the process of turning ordinary milk into a wide variety of flavors, from the ubiquitous cheddar to sublime delicacies. Through these stories, we can come to better appreciate the remarkable farmers and producers that shaped cheesemaking into the thriving industry it is today.
About the Author
Jerry Apps is the author of more than forty books on rural America and the Upper Midwest, including The Land Still Lives, Simple Things, and Breweries of Wisconsin. He has appeared in five documentaries produced by Wisconsin Public Television based on his books and is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
“Captures the personalities, challenges, and inventiveness in Wisconsin’s 150-year-old cheesemaking tradition. Apps shines a light on the passion that dairy farmers and cheesemakers bring to their work every morning before dawn. He understands that dairy is a lifestyle that defines an industry, and is the foundation of the hard-working, hard-playing ethos in Wisconsin.”—John Umhoefer, executive director, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
“An entertaining account of how cheese has ruled Wisconsin. Jerry Apps has added another exemplary chapter to his Wisconsin chronicles.”—Wisconsin Magazine of History