Cheese… In the Beginning
Nobody knows for sure just when our where cheese making originated. However, cheese is mentioned often in ancient Greek mythology and evidence of cheese making has been found on Egyptian tomb murals dating back over 4000 years. It is interesting to note that many of the popular cheeses we eat today (such as Cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda) are relatively new to the cheese story, having only appeared in the last 500 years or so. And, many of the new cheeses are actually “Wisconsin Original” cheese varieties like Colby, CoJack and Brick.
For more than 160 years, cheesemaking in Wisconsin has been a central part of the state’s cultural identity. Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, known for the quality and diversity of its cheeses, and its rich cheesemaking heritage.
Originally all cheese made in Wisconsin was produced by farmwives who used their cow’s milk. In 1841, Mrs. Anne Pickett made cheesemaking history when she established Wisconsin’s first cheese factory using milk from her neighbor’s cows. In 1859, Hiram Smith, a farmer on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, opened a full-scale cheese factory. That same year, John Smith instituted the marketing of cheese outside of Wisconsin and established Wisconsin’s reputation and proud title as America’s Dairyland.
During the next two decades, the cheese industry exploded with hundreds of local cheese plants located throughout Wisconsin’s countryside, including the Nasonville plant in 1885.
All Cheese is Not Created Equal
Today, more than 95% of Wisconsin milk is used to make cheese in over 600 varieties, styles and types. Cheese is one of the most varied, nutritious and loved foods in the world. Basically, each variety of cheese has its own unique combination of the following:
- Type of milk (cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, etc)
- Cultures and setting ingredients to form the curd
- Heating, forming, cutting curd
- Desirable bacteria and/or molds for ripening
- Salt, seasonings for preserving and flavor
- Aging methods; curing temperatures, humidity, location
Nasonville honors the traditions of the past and blends them seamlessly with the best modern techniques to deliver the best quality cheese varieties at affordable prices. We are proud of our Wisconsin connection, and know that our commitment to quality is evident in every bite of Nasonville Dairy’s cheese.