Cedar Grove Cheese E5904 Mill Road, P.O. Box 185, Plain, Wisconsin 53577
Call 1-800-200-6020 or 608-546-5284  
Email: cheese@cedargrovecheese.com
Fax:  608-546-2805


How We Make Cheese

Organic Cheese

Traditional Cheese - rBGH- and GMO- free

Artisan Cheese

Organic Whey Powder

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Ordering Cheese

Shipping Information

Our Environmental Policy

News at Cedar Grove


Featured Links

UW-Madison Press Release 8-23-2006

Agri-View Article 11-01-2007

CAVE & Affinage Facility 4-29-2007

World Championship Cheese Contest 2008
Goat Milk Jack - Best of Class - Semi-Soft Goat's Milk Cheeses
Capriko - Second and Third award - Hard Mixed Milk Cheeses

Memo from Bob Wills, President of Cedar Grove Cheese, July 2008

Congratulations.  Cedar Grove Cheese had an extraordinarily successful showing at the American Cheese Society last week (July 25) in Chicago.  We also made contact with several promising new accounts and will be working to nail down their business over the next few weeks. 

First Place - Cedar Grove Cumin and Clove Dutch-Style Cheese

First Place - Capriko Goat/Cow blend for Nordic Creamery

Second Place (no first place was given) - Goat Cheese with Spices "Feddost" for Nordic Creamery (Al Bekkum)

Second Place - Cedar Grove Goat Cheddar (This cheese lost to the eventual grand champion made by Carr Valley Cheese - a challenge for us next time)

Second Place - Cedar Grove Smoked Cheddar with Smoked Salmon

Second Place - Dante entered by Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative

Third Place - Cedar Grove Pepper Jack

Third Place - Mona (Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative)

Third Place - Dante Lamb

Other interesting notes: Carr Valley took 18 awards including 1st and 3rd Overall. 

Will Lehner took two second place awards (with cheese not made here). 

Diana Murphy of Dreamfarm won second for her fresh goat cheddar.  She trained here to get her cheesemaker license. 

Dane Huebner (now at Flat Creek Lodge in Georgia) took first place with a Caraway Cotija. 

Mike Gingrich's Pleasant Ridge Reserve took second.  (Originally made here)

With a total of nine awards coming from our factory we were second only to Carr Vallley in total cheese awards or one behind Cabot in total awards (since they took two places for butter). 

2009 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest:

Dante took Second in the Hard Sheep's Milk Cheeses category
Mona took Third in the Hard Mixed Milk Cheeses category

9/18/09 - Guest Column in the Cheese Market News by Bob Wills

Wisconsin partners with Hondurans to bring ‘local’ to global market
Bob Wills

Bob Wills is president of Cedar Grove Cheese Inc., Plain, Wis., and is a guest columnist for this week’s Cheese Market News®.

The World Dairy Expo in Madison is a milieu of clones, sires and planned improvements. But last year, a chance encounter bred a new international exchange program. Oskar Bermudez and Otto Tercero, a dairy inspector and a cheesemaker from Honduras, met Norm Monsen and others from Wisconsin’s Dairy Business Innovation Center (DBIC). Their discussion led to the formation of Partners for Global Dairy Development, a project that brought Honduran cheesemakers to Wisconsin to learn about our industry.

Honduran dairy inspectors face an overwhelming challenge. By standard accounting, Honduras is the poorest of the Central American countries. A handful of inspectors and some sanitarians are responsible for working with more than 40,000 dairy farms and some 2,500 dairy plants. Bermudez’s employer, SANESA, is the equivalent to our FDA. It certifies a small number of plants to export to neighboring countries. But Bermudez wants to raise the sanitary, safety and quality standards for the whole country. His challenge is how to do that with very limited resources.

Tercero is typical of Honduran cheesemakers; he considers himself the best. He is justifiably proud of his skill making a wide variety of cheeses. Customers form lines at the store in front of his home where he sells most of his products. His two sons want to expand and improve the business. They are eager for knowledge and technology. Bermudez sees the enthusiasm of the sons and others like them as an opportunity for improvement, offering sanitary manuals, videos and generous advice.

Meanwhile, DBIC and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have helped transform Wisconsin’s dairy industry into a showplace for artisan, specialty and farmstead products, in part by learning from others. For six years, Wisconsin, working with the Babcock Institute at the University of Wisconsin, has sent its cheesemakers abroad to observe others’ cheesemaking practices. DBIC founder Dan Carter now saw the opportunity for Wisconsin to consider a reverse program to bring young cheesemakers here from developing countries.

By January, Partners in Global Dairy Development was making arrangements for a pilot program for young Hondurans. At that time I was asked to host and train some of the participants. A team spent a week in Honduras touring six cheese factories, five farms, a reload and a sanitary lab, as well as meeting with the U.S. Embassy and the head of SANESA.

Enthusiasm for the project was universal. We learned these cheesemakers were serious and careful. No milk was wasted. Plants were clean. The cheese was good.

However, few plants had pasteurizers. Cheese cultures were limited. One farmer replaced his herd with Holsteins because he was paid on volume and would make more money despite the animals being poorly adapted to the climate. Farmers used unregulated antibiotics and other medications, and milk was not tested for antibiotics or quality. A new reload station took in can milk and loaded tankers to ship to distant markets, bypassing local factories.
In some ways, the Honduran dairy industry reminded me of tales about Wisconsin in the 1930s. Cheese factories were close together and protective of their secrets. Most cheesemakers had not been in plants other than those run by their families. Subsequently, Wisconsin dairies went through decades of consolidation during which thousands of factories and farms folded. We suffered through doomed efforts to supply low-cost cheese in commodity markets. Someone always had a cost advantage. Farmers were forced to accept low milk prices.

Then Wisconsin pulled back from the abyss. When the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute formed there were many naysayers. “Cheesemakers won’t share information and work together” was a common refrain. But we did. We discovered that there were many niches. We resurrected old varieties. We copied imports. We invented new cheeses. More customers are buying more cheese today because they are excited about their choices.

Honduran cheesemakers were interested in Wisconsin for our technological prowess. But, in addition, they were attracted by the fact that the best aspects of Wisconsin’s cheese industry offered a different route to development. Wisconsin cheesemakers, government and educational institutions built on traditions, fostered collaborative competition and primarily focused on building new and local markets. This model promotes stable growth.

American donors ask, “What is in it for us?” First, we learn from our guests. Second, we will probably increase exports of products, ingredients, and equipment. Third, it enhances the reputation of Wisconsin, generating inquiries from other parts of the world.

Most important, the program promotes stability. A stronger Honduran dairy economy promotes political stability which helps the United States. In addition, wise development in growing economies can promote stability in our dairy economy. Today the United States is suffering from a trade-induced dairy depression. Consumption of dairy products remained strong through the economic downturn. Milk production has been level. But, prices have been driven down because exports have fallen more than imports.

Farmers and factories that weathered the downturn best are those with loyal customers. Local markets, with fresh, healthy products supplied by neighbors, are the hottest marketing trend. That trend will strengthen with rising energy costs.

Helping develop local-oriented markets around the world increases our price stability. The Hondurans will find opportunities to develop their unique products aimed at traditional, local, tourist and neighboring markets. Healthy development based on the recent Wisconsin model will make their dairy market, and ours, less subject to the boom and bust cycles of global markets.

Despite political turmoil, this summer we managed to bring two young Hondurans to Wisconsin. They attended a meeting of the Artisan Cheese Network with regulators. They studied at UW-River Falls and UW-Madison Center for Dairy Research. They worked and toured cheese and ice cream factories. They made important contacts and lasting friendships. We helped them prepare presentations to give to the Honduran government and other cheesemakers.

Since returning, the two young men visited each other’s homes and factories. We cannot be sure what the program has bred, but to many in Wisconsin and Honduras, it looks beautiful.  

Cedar Grove Cheese, Inc., November 2009