In exciting news, Wisconsin may soon have a fresh mozzarella made from the milk of local water buffaloes. Whooo-hoo!
A full-page feature in this week's The Country Today tells the story, and I must say it's an interesting one: a man by the name of Dubi Ayalon, an Israel native, decided to start a new career. He quit his job as a school principal, packed up his stuff and moved to a Wisconsin dairy farm he had only seen on the Internet. He then began searching for a herd of water buffalo to milk.
While it sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch, turns out it's true. Here's my favorite quote from the story:
"When I came here I didn't know that cows had four nipples, I swear to god." -- Dubi Ayalon
It appears to be a good thing that Mr. Ayalon is surrounded by people who do know that cows have four nipples, including Master Cheesemaker Bob Wills at Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, who is excited to get his hands on some water buffalo milk to make fresh mozz. He's sure "there will be a clamoring for the product when we get it done" and I agree. I continuously have people asking me for a Wisconsin-made buffalo mozz and have to tell them it doesn't exist. In fact, there are only a handful of farms milking water buffalo in the United States -- one each in Vermont, California and Michigan.
I guess if it were easy to milk water buffaloes and make fresh mozz from their milk, someone in Wisconsin would have already done it. Apparently, it's even harder to get the animals to come into the barn for milking, as Mr. Ayalon tells The Country Today in my second favorite quote:
"Water buffalo are not like cows, you can't push them into the barn. You just cannot do it. They are stronger and full of muscles. You need to call them into the barn. Every morning and afternoon I go to the barn and sing a song in Hebrew, and they come. They make a connection between food and song."
Can't wait to eat some fresh buffalo mozz from singing cows. This will be another great Wisconsin story.