Get ‘em while they last
Back by popular demand this year will be the Fair Cheese Curds. Last year, Monroe County Fair became one of the first fairs in Wisconsin to have its fair milk made into the squeaking bits of deliciousness, which are practically their own food group here in Wisconsin.
Last year, the fair’s main promoter, the Monroe County Agricultural Society, discovered the larger milk processing plants have a hard time dealing with a small amount of milk from local fairs that is collected from exhibitors.
Board Member Simon Wells contacted Al Bekkum, owner and head cheese maker at Nordic Creamery in Westby, about buying the fair milk after losing the previous buyer last year. Bekkum agreed to buy the milk again this year and once again turn it into cheese curds, which will be sold during the fair.
Dwyer Milk Transport of Tomah will deliver the milk, which is collected from dairy cows at the fair Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to Nordic Creamery. Owner Paul Dwyer donated time and labor to haul the milk, waving all costs both last year and this year.
Once at Nordic Creamery, the milk will be processed into fresh cheese curds that will be available for purchase at the fair on Saturday morning. Local 4-H clubs designed the label on the packages.
Milk that is collected at the fair on Saturday and Sunday will be made into cheddar cheese. The cheddar will be aged to be sold at a later date.
The cheddar will then be divided up amongst all of the Monroe County 4-H clubs who will sell the cheese. All of the profits from the sales will go directly back to the clubs.
Last year, Nordic Creamery produced roughly 1,000 pounds of both curds and one-pound blocks of cheddar cheese.