Medals, plaques and trophies are often marks of greatness. They celebrate quality, reward dedication and inspire persistence to succeed. In Wisconsin, our awards case is quite full with the accomplishments of our farmers and processors.
Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, so it is no surprise Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for the production of cheese, including specialty cheeses that win awards around the world. Dairy isn’t the only cream of the crop for Wisconsin. The diversity of our state’s agriculture industry is its greatest strength. Wisconsin is the top producer of commodities such as cranberries, ginseng and more. While our cheese, ginseng and cranberry producers have put in the work to succeed, we as Wisconsin residents have the chance to reap part of the rewards by taking part in agri-tourism.
Cheese Days in Monroe brings together the Old World tradition with a new age of entertainment. The concept of Cheese Days originated in 1914 from the notion that if a town in Illinois could have a festival featuring sauerkraut, Wisconsin could have an even more grand cheese celebration. More information about the history of Cheese Days and this year’s celebration held Sept. 14-16 can be found online.
The 2nd Annual International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival is sinking its roots in Marathon County Sept. 14-16 as well. The event showcases agriculture, culinary skills, education, history, art and entertainment. Ginseng cultivation started in the late 1800’s in Marathon County which is now the capital of the United States’ ginseng industry. Wisconsin ginseng is known as the premier cultivation in the world as 95 percent of the ginseng root exported from the United States comes from Central Wisconsin.
After tasting award-winning cheese and digging into Wisconsin’s top ginseng crop, our state’s official fruit will be ripe for its moment of glory. The 46th Warrens Cranberry Festival is Sept. 28-30. Cranberry marsh tours show highlights of how the fruit is grown, harvested and used locally for wine and other products. Wisconsin produced 64 percent of the nation’s total cranberry count in 2017, more than twice of the second state, Massachusetts. Anyone can learn new uses for the tart, tasty berry at the festival.
Our medal may be a golden wheel of cheese. The plaque will be a framed memory with family and friends. The shining trophy is the wealth of knowledge earned from taking tours, asking questions and learning how our farmers and processors provide a safe, wholesome and secure food supply for families. How will you earn your awards?