Wisconsin Farm Life: Meet Heidi
Wisconsin cheese is great because of the soil, the water, the grass, and the people…not only cheesemakers, but farmers. We’d like you to meet one of them.
What makes cheese from Wisconsin so special? I do!
My name is Heidi, and I’m a real-life dairy farmer in Monroe, Wisconsin. For nearly 80 years my family has taken pride in producing the highest quality milk possible to make fantastic cheeses like those you find at Wisconsin Cheeseman.
Like most people, when you see “Made in Wisconsin” you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard that before; it’s just a gimmick to sell cheese.” Nothing could be further from the truth! It is so much more than a marketing slogan. It’s our income; it’s why we work 24/7, on holidays, in bad weather, when we’re sick…and it’s why old farmers never retire. It’s our way of life—our pride and joy.
Like the majority of dairy farmers and cheesemakers in Monroe and throughout Green County, our Swiss ancestors settled here because the lush, green, rolling hills reminded them of home. They came to make a better life for their families, and they were experts in two things: dairy farming and making cheese. The quality of the land, the milk it produces, and the craftsmanship of the local cheesemakers caused our cheese to be known as “Green County Gold”.
Family Farmers Make It Happen
My husband Rob and I are both third-generation dairy farmers. Our paternal and maternal grandfathers were among the many that emigrated here from Switzerland…well, with the exception of his mom’s parents, who are Norwegian. We won’t talk about that, but I must confess, I have learned to make great lefse (that’s another story for another time). All kidding aside, we are so proud to carry on the family tradition, and even prouder to hand it down to our son; hopefully someday he’ll hand it down to his son or daughters. His generation is the future of dairy farming, and of continuing Wisconsin’s tradition of creating award-winning cheese.
So the next time you see “Made in Wisconsin” on a cheese label, think of me. Think of my great-grandfather leaving his home and coming to a new land. Think of my children and grandchildren, and think of the immense pride we have in the products made from our milk and our love of farming. It’s about more than just that cheese in your cart…it’s our life.
Published on Jan 04 2017
Last Updated on Nov 09 2022
Categories: Cheese Nation
My mom grew up in Kenosha, and cheese and sausage packages were a tradition for Christmas every year, great to hear about the family tradition. Cute calves too!
I was born and spent the first 9 years of my life in Beloit. Later, at 15, I worked on a (rented) dairy farm outside of Brodhead. About 3 years later I helped that fellow move to a farm he bought a little bit west of Wausau and worked with him a little over a year helping him get started. A while after that I bought a home in Beloit and frequently rode my bicycle throughout the upper Midwest and oftentimes to Monroe and/or the Dells just for the scenery. The Kettle Moraine may not be the tallest hills but they sure can have some steep spots. Kudos to Cheeseheads!!! I’m in Colorado now but I fondly remember Wisconsin. Thanks for the cheese. Yummm!!
Nice article, Heidi. Mom loved the picture w/the 2 calves! See you soon.
I love Wisconsin cheese here in California my wife is from Monroe
I love Wisconsin cheese although I must say I had no interest in it as a child! Things change as we grown up and become more refined in our tastes, right? Monroe is one the the most lovely little communities I have ever visited. It’s “gold” is in its people and what they work tirelessly produce as a group just like Heidi and Rob and their heritage. Thanks Heidi for personalising this wonderful place and what you do!