Westby creamery turns unwanted Fair milk into opportunity

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer

WESTBY, Wis. — Instead of dumping unwanted milk down the drain in the milkhouses at the Monroe and LaCrosse County Fairs after losing their milk hauler, Nordic Creamery stepped up to the plate to create an economic opportunity for youth dairy exhibitors.

Milk from the Monroe County Fair will come in during the last week in July and Nordic Creamery will make fresh cheese curds that will be available for purchase at the fair.

The Westby creamery not only purchased the more than 5000 lbs. of milk, they took it one step further by making cheese curds for the exhibitors to sell with proceeds benefitting youth dairy programs at both fairs.

As far as owner and head cheesemaker Al Bekkum knows,Nordic Creamery is making the first county fair milk cheese in the state of Wisconsin.

“Youth will be able to help with label development and sales,” said creamery officials. “It will be an amazing opportunity for the dairy youth to be able to milk their cows at the fair that morning and be able to help sell the cheese curds from that milk later the same day.”

The remainder of the Monroe county fair milk will be made into Cheddar cheese as well. For both fairs, the cheddar will be aged and sold later.

All costs for the project have been absorbed by Nordic Creamery, cheesemaking production costs, Dwyer Milk Transport of Tomah, milk hauling and Belmark Labels of Depere, donation of product labels.