Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Want To Be A Wisconsin Cheesemaker?

Good news aspiring cheesemakers! Wisconsin Cheese Originals announced today applications for its 2014 Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship are available. The $2,500 award will help one aspiring cheesemaker earn his or her Wisconsin cheesemaking license and make new artisan, farmstead or specialty cheeses.

As you know, Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to require cheesemakers to be licensed, a lengthy process that can take as long as 18 months, requires the attendance at five cheesemaking courses, and 240 hours of apprenticeship with an existing licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Applications for the 2014 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship are available for download at www.WisconsinCheeseOriginals.com. Applications are due March 20. The recipient will be chosen by a review committee and notified by April 7.

Wisconsin Cheese Originals has awarded $10,000 in scholarship monies to beginning cheesemakers since 2010. Past program scholarship recipients include:

2013: Jennifer Digman owns and runs Krayola Sky Dairy, a goat dairy in Cuba City. She successfully obtained her cheesemaker's license in 2013 after earning the Wisconsin Cheese Originals scholarship. She works at both Uplands Cheese and Roelli Cheese as a professional affineur (cheese aging specialist). Digman has dreams of building her own on-farm creamery to craft fresh, hand-dipped chevre, aged mixed milk artisan cheeses, and hand-washed Alpine-styles. She hopes to pass the operation down to her two young daughters.

2012: Anna Landmark owns and runs a small-scale sustainable farm with her husband and children in Albany, Wis. In 2013, Anna successfully launched Landmark Creamery and began making seasonal sheep, cow and water buffalo cheeses, using the facilities at Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, Wis. At the 2013 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Festival, her Bawdy Buffalo, a water buffalo Taleggio-style cheese, was named one of the best up-and-coming American Original cheeses in the nation.

2011: Rose Boero, a dairy goat breeder in Custer, Wis, successfully obtained her cheesemaker's license after receiving the scholarship in 2011. Today, she makes a variety of goat's milk cheeses at Willow Creek Cheese and teaches beginning cheesemaking classes in her home for amateur cheesemakers. She is developing plans to build her own cheese plant at her dairy goat farm, where she and her husband have raised Toggenburg dairy goats for 25 years.

2010: Katie Hedrich Furhmann, a goat's milk cheesemaker, obtained her license after receiving the first Wisconsin Cheese Originals Scholarship. At the 2011 U.S. Champion Cheese Contest, she took Best in Show for her goat's milk cheese, LaClare Farms Evalon, and was named the 2011 U.S. Champion Cheesemaker, the youngest cheesemaker to ever earn the title. In 2013, she and her family built a new farmstead cheese plant on their farm near Pipe, Wis. She launches new cheeses annually.

For those of you not in the know, Wisconsin Cheese Originals is an organization I started in 2009. Our motto is: Have Fun. Do Good. Eat Cheese. We are a membership organization sharing information about Wisconsin artisan cheeses through a variety of events, all in the spirit of celebrating Wisconsin cheesemakers. You can join for just $35 a year and be invited to tours, dinners, classes and super cool tasting events. More info on becoming a cheese geek here: Wisconsin Cheese Originals.

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