Sunday, June 09, 2013

Thuli Family Creamery

One of the brother-owners of Darlington Dairy Supply, a company well known for providing the Wisconsin dairy industry with innovative, stainless steel processing equipment, is going into the dairy processing industry himself.

Ted Thuli and his wife, Angie, are about ready to open the doors of Thuli Family Creamery on the site of the old Ann Street garage in downtown Darlington. The creamery on wheels - one of Darlington Dairy Supply's claims to fame - has been customized to use solar power and craft an array of innovative dairy products, including:

1. Swiss Style Yogurt -- milk will be non-homogenized with 2 percent and whole milk versions. Smooth and naturally sweet.

2. Cream-line milk -- in white plastic 1/2 gallons.

3. Gelato -- the real deal, using pasteruized egg yolks instead of chemical stabilizers for smooth and thick consistency.

4. Drinkable Yogurt -- with three ingredients: milk, fruit and stevia.

While Ted designed the equipment and developed the recipes, Angie will be the primary operator and day-to-day manager of Thuli Family Creamery. After 28 years in the banking industry, she's "retiring" to work at the bank two days a week and will spend another two or three days a week crafting dairy products to sell in the creamery's on-site small retail store. Sons Blake, 27 and Kyle, 25, are also involved, helping their parents build the creamery and get it up and running.

"Of course what I'd really like to do is make Swiss cheese," Ted says with a grin. Both his grandfather and father were Swiss cheesemakers, and Ted is a Wisconsin licensed cheesemaker himself. "But this is the way to go right now. We're going to fill a product niche and see what we can do."

Already, the family's dairy logo is drawing second looks and smiles. The whimsical cow wearing a bell with a Swiss flag represents the family's heritage. Angie says they'll have a future contest to name her.

Of course with Ted Thuli - featured in 2010 on the hit History Channel show, American Pickers, nothing is ever done in a routine manner. Visitors will notice a giant shark head greeting them as they approach the creamery - the same shark head that was used at the 1974 premiere party of the movie "Jaws". Its missing front tooth will be filled with foam cheese. The creamery boasts an attractive wooden viewing deck for visitors, and the Thulis imagine school children and groups will visit often.

The family creamery marks a dream come true for Ted, who has traveled the world working at Darlington Dairy Supply with his mother and two brothers. The company was founded by his father in 1958, and since then, Ted has built cheese plants in China, Ecuador, Caribbean Islands, Mexico and all over the United States.

"It's pretty neat to do this in my own hometown," Ted says. "I think it will be good for downtown Darlington, and it will be good for us. Win-win." Congrats to the Thulis!


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