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View Full Version : Wisconsin could lose its cheese title



Evergrey
Dec 12, 2006, 4:17 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061211/ap_on_re_us/second_rate_cheeseheads

By EMILY FREDRIX, Associated Press Writer
Mon Dec 11, 2:19 PM ET



COLBY, Wis. - Wisconsin, which proudly calls itself "America's Dairyland" and embraces all things cheese as a whey of life, is not yet ready to become a second-rate cheese power.

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California is poised to take over the crown — or the cheesehead? — as the nation's top cheese producer as early as next year, but Wisconsin cheese lovers say quality is more important than quantity.

"We still have the best cheese," says Mary Deheck, a suburban Milwaukee resident who often makes a special trip to this central Wisconsin cheese mecca to stock up. She buys 100 pounds of cheese per year, typically colby or cheddar, for herself and her daughter, and for gifts.

Last year, California made 2.1 billion pounds of cheese, while Wisconsin produced 2.4 billion, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Given the production trend, it is only a matter of time before California becomes the big cheese of cheesemaking.

When the subject of the title change comes up, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board spokesman Patrick Geoghegan turns up his nose faster than a 5-year-old offered his first slice of Limburger (a pungent cheese made in the U.S. only at a factory in Wisconsin).

Geoghegan says there are much more important numbers than tonnage. For one thing, Wisconsin has about 600 varieties of cheese, compared with California's 250.

Or these: Wisconsin 57, California 7. That's the tally of prizes from the 2006 World Championship Cheese Contest which was held — where else? — in Wisconsin.

"We make the best cheese in the United States and we make some of the best cheese in the world," Geoghegan says. "We don't take a back seat to anybody when it comes to making cheese."

Tourism Department spokesman Jerry Huffman says there are no plans to back down from billing Wisconsin as THE cheese state. After all, he says, "You put a pound of cheddar from Wisconsin next to a pound of cheddar from California and ours is going to taste better, and that's what it's all about."

Nevertheless, Wisconsin's big cheese, Gov. Jim Doyle, has asked the state's commerce and agriculture secretaries to look for ways to help bolster cheese production. Doyle said Wisconsin has to look for new directions and go after niche markets such as organic and specialty cheeses.

"It's about whether we are a leader in a big dairy and cheese industry in this country," he says, "and I am committed to making sure we are."

Cheese is about a $3.5 billion-a-year industry in Wisconsin. It is such a big deal that Wisconsin residents and fans of the Green Bay Packers, in particular, call themselves "cheeseheads." Thousands of Packers fans wear foam hats that look like big wedges of cheddar.

California's cheese industry is not exactly beating its chest about its accomplishments, or putting down Wisconsin cheese.

"We appreciate what's produced there, but we're also very proud of what's produced here and the way we produce it," says Stephanie Smith, spokeswoman for Cantare Foods, a San Diego producer of Italian cheeses like mozzarella and mascarpone.

It could be that the title of No. 1 cheese state means a whole lot more to Wisconsin that it does to California, which is already the capital of the entertainment industry, the center of the nation's wine industry, the land of fun in the sun, and so on and so on.

Wisconsin, for its part, has cheese, beer, bratwursts, the Packers and ... and ...

George T. Haley, professor of marketing at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, says Wisconsin should consider counteracting California's successful "Happy Cows" ad campaign, which depicts sunny, carefree cows in the state's rolling hills.

One idea is to play up the way many of Wisconsin's dairy farms are family-owned, whereas many of California's dairy farms are larger and owned by corporate entities.

"I think maybe California would be the evil empire and Wisconsin would be the good guys," he says. "That's something that would go over very well."

Wheelingman04
Dec 12, 2006, 5:06 AM
Wisconsin is one awesome state. California may only produce more cheese in the future because it is so much bigger in land area than Wisconsin.

Paintballer1708
Dec 13, 2006, 2:02 AM
But i dont think California will be known so much for it's cheese as Wisconsin is.

NanoBison
Dec 13, 2006, 3:51 AM
The only cheese I relate to California, is that which is coming out of Hollywood and the Music Industry ...

:haha:

CGII
Dec 13, 2006, 5:15 PM
I thought more cheese came out of California than Wisconsin already...

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 13, 2006, 5:22 PM
I dunno. Anyone ever see those "California Cheese" commercials? They're pretty aggressive.

Steely Dan
Dec 13, 2006, 5:40 PM
Anyone ever see those "California Cheese" commercials?

no. do they really have such things? i've seen TV commercials for sconie cheese, but never for cali cheese. what makes them "aggressive"?

WonderlandPark
Dec 13, 2006, 5:49 PM
no. do they really have such things? i've seen TV commercials for sconie cheese, but never for cali cheese. what makes them "aggressive"?

It an agressive campaign because the ads run so much, but I think they are pretty cute ads:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GzEhDZFO6c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzZeZf5suq8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-B2dK4kr7o

Navin
Dec 13, 2006, 6:46 PM
I thought more cheese came out of California than Wisconsin already...

CA already passed WI for all-around dairy production, but this news is specifically about cheese, precious cheese.

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 13, 2006, 7:37 PM
no. do they really have such things? i've seen TV commercials for sconie cheese, but never for cali cheese. what makes them "aggressive"?

Nothing aggressive about the advertising, they're just on all the freaking time out here as well as in Arizona.

CGII
Dec 14, 2006, 12:43 AM
My friend from California always says 'happy cheese comes from happy cows' whenever he has to eat any dairy products around here.

the94112
Dec 27, 2006, 8:59 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TN9lCZlGNQ

Well, as the commercial displays, our cows clearly are happier.

CGII
Dec 28, 2006, 4:46 AM
Shut the hell up. They're probably loaded with marijuana.

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 28, 2006, 7:20 AM
We're not all potheads, just the ingrates on the coast. Jeez. :rolleyes:

brian_b
Dec 28, 2006, 3:31 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TN9lCZlGNQ

Well, as the commercial displays, our cows clearly are happier.


Too bad your governator wasn't skiing on happy snow. :D

Seriously though, I've seen these commercials for a while now (they get played in Chicago quite a bit) and it just makes me wonder how many people actually look at the cheese label to determine where the cheese came from. Especially since most people simply buy branded, packaged cheese.

After I first read this thread, I started to pay attention to the origin of the cheeses that I buy. One of the big cheese brands for packaged cheese here is Sargento, which is of course Wisconsin, but the store brand (Safeway/Dominicks) is not labeled as to where it came from. Probably California. Kraft is another big one for sliced packaged cheese. They are based in the Chicago suburbs, so their cheese is probably fairly local in origin. Illinois and Wisconsin. The specialty stuff that I buy once in a while is usually from Oregon or Vermont. But probably only because I buy sharp cheddar most often. I bought some excellent romano the other day to make a pasta dish and it came from Wisconsin.

CGII
Dec 28, 2006, 6:47 PM
You bet your ass the people in Wisconsin check where their cheese comes from.

Marcu
Dec 28, 2006, 10:11 PM
I think i can honestly say I don't care where my cheese comes from unless I associate the place with a particular taste or quality. (e.g. Stilton from the UK). I don't think there's any of that with California cheese yet.

If Wisconsin is seeing growth in its cheese sales who cares if they're number 1 or 2.

Steely Dan
Dec 28, 2006, 10:56 PM
If Wisconsin is seeing growth in its cheese sales who cares if they're number 1 or 2.

and to add to that, regardless of how much more cheese california may make than wisconsin, cheese will never be woven into the very identity and soul of cali the way that it is in the dairy state. californians are not about to start calling themsleves "cheeseheads" nor are they going to start wearing foam cheese hats to niners games, etc.

california is way too much of an "all things to all people" kind of a state to ever have its identity and image consumed by cheese.

brian_b
Dec 29, 2006, 2:58 PM
...nor are they going to start wearing foam cheese hats to niners games, etc.

People go to niners games?

Buckeye Native 001
Dec 29, 2006, 6:17 PM
People in L.A. go to Raiders games, people in O.C. go to Charger games.

That's not the point, though. There's too many goddamn cows in Bakerfield, and that's where all that goddamn cheese comes from, probably.

The stench along the 5 north of the 99 split is unberable.

Wissies, keep your goddamn cheese title.

rockyi
Dec 31, 2006, 3:16 PM
You bet your ass the people in Wisconsin check where their cheese comes from.

The most unintentionally disgusting line ever! :tomato:

Austinlee
Jan 8, 2007, 6:23 AM
What you guys in Winconsin need is more dump trucks to haul larger quantities of the raw cheese out from your giant underground cheese mines.

James Bond Agent 007
Jan 9, 2007, 1:55 AM
My friend from California always says 'happy cheese comes from happy cows' whenever he has to eat any dairy products around here.
I s'pose even the cows like the Sunbelt better.

CGII
Jan 9, 2007, 5:29 PM
I s'pose even the cows like the Sunbelt better.

Please note that if Washington had dairy farms, they probably wouldn't tell the truth that 'Crappy cheese comes from depressed, soggy and damp cows' in their commercials.