Should Colby be Wisconsin’s official “state cheese”?

Midwest Farm

(WFRV) – Can you beleive Wisconsin does not have an official state cheese? How could you pick just one?

State Sen. Kathy Bernier and State Rep. Donna Rozard are hoping their nominee, Colby, makes the cut.

They introduced legislation this week to make it the official cheese of Wisconsin.

The Republican legislators both represent the city of Colby in Clark and Marathon counties, the birthplace of Colby cheese.

Bernier and Rozard issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled to introduce this bill to honor Colby cheese as Wisconsin’s State Cheese. Colby began as a farm family recipe dreamed up by a young man on the floor of his father’s small wooden cheese factory. Today, it has gone on to become world-famous and one of America’s most popular cheeses.

“Colby was real innovation – its inventive processing led to breakthroughs in cheesemaking that have truly changed cheese and put Wisconsin on the cheesemaking map. This bill celebrates that history and innovation, but it’s about more than just cheese – it’s a reminder that just one small person from one small place can take an idea and change history – even cheese history.”

The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin have a great history of the cheese available on their website. It says in part:

The origin story of Colby takes us back to the year 1875, right outside the city of Colby, Wisconsin. Nestled among acres of farmland and close-knit communities surrounding Colby, Ambrose Steinwand and his family operated a small cheese factory where they made around 100 pounds of cheese a day—mostly cheddar. Dream job, anyone?

Although 100 pounds of cheese might sound like a lot, modern cheesemakers would consider that a micro-batch. Over the ensuing years, Joseph Steinwand, the family’s eldest child, began helping his father and took a special interest in the intricacies of the cheesemaking process. This passion for cheese blossomed into delicious experimentation and in 1885, a masterpiece was born. Joseph named it Colby, after his beloved town.

Today, Wisconsin’s cheesemakers make over 45 million pounds of Colby each year to share with eager cheese lovers across the world. 

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