I am often asked, what makes Wisconsin agriculture so special? That answer is easy – the people who work in agriculture, and the diversity of agriculture industries in our state. From cranberries to cows and mint to maple syrup, the long list of food, fuel and fiber products grown and raised in our state is a true blessing.
The meat industry is certainly one to be proud of in Wisconsin. Meat packing companies have a rich history in our state, including one very important team sponsorship by the Indian Packing Company that funded the start of our beloved Green Bay Packers. Today, a variety of meat processing companies can be found across the state. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats and the Nueske family have been crafting smoked meats in Wisconsin since 1933. Still to this day, they use many original recipes. This third-generation family company has a great selection of sausages, beef, poultry, and bacon products.
Adding flavor and variety to Wisconsin agriculture are companies like Polar Bear Kitchen. They handcraft seasonings and sauces to spice-up your holiday get-togethers. Their collection of sauces are great for barbecue or pretzel dip, and their dry rubs are perfect for baby back ribs. Gabe, the creative behind Polar Bear Kitchen’s flavors makes all of the products from scratch. Their flavors are top-notch, and several have won awards at an international level. This holiday season, take your cooking to the next level with the flavors from Polar Bear Kitchen.
Of course, I must remember to mention cheese when writing about Wisconsin agriculture! With over 600 styles, types, and varieties of cheese made in our state, the diversity of cheeses alone is amazing. For example, only one state, and one cheese plant in the nation produces limburger cheese – Chalet Cheese Cooperative in Monroe. Best known for its infamous stinky aroma, Limburger cheese has German roots. It is a soft, ripened cheese with a creamy texture and a buttery, mild flavor. The best way to enjoy this cheese is the traditional way, sandwiched between dark rye bread with thickly-sliced, raw onion and pub mustard.
Hidden below the surface of Wisconsin soil, you will find more agriculture diversity. Found mostly in the central part of the state, American ginseng roots have been cultivated in Wisconsin for more than 100 years. Today, 95 percent of our nation’s cultivated ginseng is grown in Wisconsin, on farms like Heil Ginseng Enterprises. Joe Heil and his team care for their ginseng roots from initial planting all the way to to final product. Their roots, capsules, and tea bags are high quality, and are in demand around the world.
Diversity comes in the form of flavored condiments, too. Condiments from Madame Chu add a note of Southeast Asian flavor to traditional holiday dishes. Their products represent authentic flavors and techniques passed from generation to generation. Traditional Southeast Asian cooking can take many hours to arrive at just the right flavor, but the end result is uniquely delicious. Behind the Madame Chu brand name is Josey Chu, a Singapore native with a passion for cooking. Her collection showcases the diversity of cultures represented in Wisconsin food.
All of these companies, though diverse, have one thing in common. They are all members of the Something Special from Wisconsin™ program. Participating members in the program guarantee at least half of the ingredients, production, or processing come from right here within our state. Browse and learn more about the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture companies at somethingspecialwi.com.