You’ll be driving down a country road and from out of nowhere a simple hand-lettered sign may say, “Cheese Curds Today” and point toward what looks for all the world like nothing more than a whitewashed barn.
Do stop in, because it’s possibly one of a dying breed — a farm-run cheese operation. Yet don’t fret — while more and more gleaming copper-kettle high-tech operations are taking over, Wisconsin’s countryside is still home to many, many dozens of smaller operations, many of which have been in operation since the mid-19th century. And most of these offer viewing platforms/observation windows, if not outright tours. (And once in a while, they’ll let you pick up an implement to help churn!) All, naturally, will have retail shops!
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (www.wisdairy.com ) has an endless list of diminutive cheese operations where you can poke your head in for a visit. If I were to choose one place to go, it’d be Monroe, south of Madison , home to a number of operations. South but still closer to Madison in Monticello you can find a couple of classic operations.
Most typical of new operations is tiny Bleu Mont Dairy, in Blue Mounds, west of Madison, where all the cheese is organic and made from all-chemical free raw milk, and where all power comes from the sun, wind, and cow!