Nordic Creamery was contacted earlier this year by both the Monroe and La Crosse County fairs because they lost the buyer for their fair milk. The larger milk processing plants have a hard time dealing with a small amount of milk from the local fairs. Al Bekkum, owner and head cheesemaker at Nordic Creamery said they would help them out by taking in the milk. They took this a step further and decided to add value to this fair milk. As far as they know, what Nordic Creamery is doing is making history producing the first county fair milk cheese in the state of Wisconsin.
Milk from the La Crosse County Fair was brought in during the middle of July and crafted into cheddar cheese. Milk from the Monroe County Fair was brought in during the last week in July and Nordic Creamery produced fresh cheese curds that were available for purchase at the fair. The remainder of the Monroe County Fair milk was also made into cheddar cheese. The cheddar cheese from both fairs will be aged and sold later.
This process created other opportunities for the dairy youth. They were able to milk their cows at the fair in the morning, help with label development and sales of their product by selling the cheese curds from the fair milk later the same day. All the cheese sale proceeds were used for the youth dairy programs at both fairs
Nordic Creamery of Westby donated all the cheese making production costs, Dwyer Milk Transport of Tomah is donating donated all the milk hauling and Belmark Labels of Depere donated all the product labels.