As we gather around bountiful tables of food this Thanksgiving, I am reminded of my gratitude for those who provide a safe, wholesome and secure food supply for my family. It is certainly no simple task, and the work starts from the ground up caring for the land, animals and food product.
Crave Brothers Farmstead
Wisconsin would not be Americas Dairyland if not for dairy farming families like Crave Brothers Farmstead. Charles, Thomas, Mark and George Crave were raised on a dairy farm near Beloit. In 1978, they started a farm together in Mount Horeb and eventually purchased a Waterloo dairy farm in 1980.
The family produces high-quality milk and cheese. Through their dairy farm and cheese factory, they can showcase how the product goes from farm gate to our plates. While their milk is a pure
white, Crave Brothers Farmstead is green. They are a carbon-negative company, making more power with their bio digester than they use, and the brothers also practice water conservation and recycling.
Perhaps their story is why the Farmstead Mascarpone is so sweet. The cheese is crafted from fresh, sweet cream and is great with any sweet and savory dishes this holiday season. Whether you stir it into soup or coffee or pair it with strawberries and sparkling wine, the mascarpone certainly makes a special celebration.
Eckerman Sheep Company
Eckerman Sheep Company showcases the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture with their outstanding sheep cheeses. The small sheep farm operation works with an award-winning cheesemaker who has helped them win numerous contests in 2018. Darlene Eckerman grew up on her family’s cheese plant rolling butter, hopping vats and cutting cheese. Her grandfather passed the plant onto his son who passed the traditions down to Darlene. The sheep’s milk makes their cheese rich, smooth and creamy. The original recipe they crafted gives unique and bold flavors. The names of the cheese highlight their quality. Darlene said the name EweMazing was easy when everyone who first tasted the cheese commented on how amazing it tasted. Lovely Lamb earned its title from the delicate aromatics and lovely flavor.
Widmer’s Cheese Cellars
Another standout example of the heritage of Wisconsin’s dairy industry is Widmer’s Cheese Cellars
in Theresa. The family business was founded in 1922 by Swiss immigrant John O. Widmer. He instilled in the family an approach to cheesemaking that was passed down through four generations of the Widmer family. His motto was, “Take no shortcuts, and accept nothing less than the best.” Embracing the techniques which have been handed down through generations and European and Wisconsin cheesemakers, Widmer’s carefully produces some of the fines Brick, Colby and Cheddar cheese in the world. These cheeses are handcrafted today under the watchful eye of third-generation certified Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer.
It is no surprise these companies are all part of Something Special from Wisconsin as their dedication to a high-quality product makes them stand above the rest. There are nearly 500 companies like Crave Brothers Farmstead, Eckerman Sheep Company and Widmer’s Cheese Cellars waiting to become part of your holiday tradition. You can find them all by simply searching at somethingspecialwi.com.
While working in all corners of the state, these Wisconsin farmers and processors make their way into our homes and into our hearts with products that we can share as gifts, use to craft creative new recipes or enjoy while sharing stories with loved ones around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
What are you thankful for this holiday season?