Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Castle Rock Organic Dairy

An organic farmstead milk bottling facility that opened a couple of years ago in northwest Wisconsin is now also making 13 flavors of farmstead ice cream and seven styles of cheeses, including a very good blue that peaks at about 8 months old.

Wayne & Carla Kostka, along with various partners and members of their family, run Castle Rock Organic Dairy near Osseo. The last time I was there was for a field day last summer, and the Kostkas & Co. were gearing up a home delivery program in the Eau Claire area. Today, they have not only developed a successful delivery program, but are making an array of farmstead dairy products themselves.
I tried their Pumpkin Spice farmstead ice cream yesterday and it was extremely good. A seasonal flavor, it's offered in the fall. This December, they will also make a Christmas Mint, which sounds promising. I also tried their Molasses Chocolate Chip, which was definitely a great combination.

In addition to fresh organic farmstead milk and ice cream, Castle Rock has also begun crafting cheese. So far, their lineup includes the standbys of fresh cheese curds every Tuesday, as well as colby, mild cheddar, aged cheddar from 3-12 months and a raw milk cheddar. They're also branching out and crafting a Harvest Moon -- an aged cheddar with some kick to it, as well as a blue cheese. The blue I tried yesterday was five months old and very good. Wayne says it peaks at about 8 months.

Castle Rock became well-known across the country in March, 2006, when it was included in the Cornucopia Institute report on the U.S. organic dairy industry. The New York Times broke the story, reporting that in Cornucopia's ranking of organic dairies nationwide, small and large, Castle Rock scored 1150 out of 1200 points, ranking them near the top of the charts.

Indeed, the Kostkas are one of Wisconsin's dairy family farm success stories. Five generations of farming runs in their blood, with son Barry managing the dairy herd and father Wayne and mother Carla and their partners managing the dairy plant. Their dairy plant retail store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the latest info on what this Wisconsin farm family is up to, check out their newsletter, published quarterly.

No comments: