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WEST ALLIS - It was a repeat performance for the cheese-making team at Lake Country Dairy, from Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese in Turtle Lake, when they were named the 2018 Grand Master Cheesemaker during the Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction, held Aug. 9 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. They earned the coveted title — for the second year in a row — with Altu, the first place entry in the Smear Ripened Cheese Class.

Each blue-ribbon entry from the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Products Contest sold during the event, which raised $42,730 for student scholarships and dairy promotions at the Wisconsin State Fair. Before the auction began the scholarship recipients were introduced.

They include Carmen Haack, Algoma; Erica Helmer, Plymouth; Brandon Strupp, Hartford; Stephanie Thiel, Plymouth; Casey Waite, Janesville; and Colin Wussow, Cecil.

Leading off the auction was 22 pounds of Team Lake Country Dairy’s award-winning Altu, which sold for $3,190 to DR Tech of Grantsburg.    

The auction attracted nearly 400 guests including more than a dozen cheese buyers from South and Central America, Mexico and the Middle East who were winding up their week-long visit to Wisconsin for a reverse buyers mission.

Secretary of Agriculture Sheila Harsdorf introduced the group at the auction and said the mission of hosting this event is to provide a “360 view” of the Wisconsin cheese industry and growing Wisconsin dairy exports.  The State Fair visit also provided the opportunity for these buyers to see the many varieties of cheese and other unique dairy products that are made in Wisconsin.          

While the buyers were at the fair they also experienced the many other aspects of Wisconsin agriculture and saw the variety of agricultural products featured in the Wisconsin Ag products building at the fair.

In addition to introducing special guests, Harsdorf also encouraged bidders by serving as ring-master.

Former Alice in Dairyland Jill Macovek served as mistress of ceremonies at the event.  She said she feels honored to participate in this popular auction because she is continuing the legacy of her grandpa Delp.

Macovek also mentioned that besides raising money for scholarships, the dairy products auction also provides funding for a variety of other dairy promotion activities at State Fair.   New this year was the remodeled milking parlor that now allows fair visitors to see cows being milked while learning more about today’s dairy industry.

New to the auction this year were varieties of yogurt and drinkable yogurt, sour cream and some new cheese varieties.

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Auction results

Mild Cheddar:   Timothy Stearns, Agropur, Weyauwega, winning bid of $5040 by  DSM Food Specialties, Waukesha.

Baby Swiss Wheel: Shullsburg Team, Prairie Farms, Shullsburg, winning bid of $1080 by Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation, West Allis.

Marinated Fresh Mozzarella: George Crave, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Waterloo, winning bid of $1150 by Cheese Market News, Madison.

Cranberry/Cinnamon Goat Cheese: Doug Waechter, Saputo/Montchevre, Belmont, winning bid of $600 by Dairy Connection, Madison.

Smoked Aged Gouda: Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, winning bid of $1140 by Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano: Mike Matucheski, Sartori Cheese, Antigo, winning bid of $2400 by  Wells Fargo, Milwaukee.

American Swiss Slices: Team AMPI, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Portage, winning bid of $1700 by Dairy Products Marketing, Fond du Lac.

Traditional Romano: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, winning bid of $1260 by Chr. Hansen, Milwaukee.

Dill Havarti:  Ron Bechtolt, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $750 by Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Hand-Stretched String Cheese: Cesar Luis, Cesar’s Cheese, Random Lake, winning bid of $1250 by WE Energies, Milwaukee.

Natural Flavor Provolone: Team Clayton, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, winning bid of $1100 by Masters Gallery Foods, Plymouth.

Gorgonzola: Team Seymour, Great Lakes Cheese, Seymour, winning bid of $840 by Novak’s Cheese, De Pere.

Mascarpone: Team Lake Country Dairy, Lake Country Dairy-Schuman Cheese, Turtle Lake, winning bid of $600 by DR Tech, Grantsburg.

Colby Jack Longhorn:  Bill Stocker, Shullsburg Creamery, Shullsburg, winning bid of $1000 by  Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese, Kaukauna.

Aged Cheddar: Luke Kopecky, Land O’Lakes, Kiel, winning bid of $4000 Masters Gallery Foods, Plymouth

 Brick: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, winning bid of $650 Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Extra-Aged Goat Cheese: Pam Hodgson, Sartori Cheese, Plymouth, winning bid of $1200 Dairy Products Marketing, Fond du Lac.

Mozzarella Whips: Ben Shibler, Ron’s Cheese, Luxemburg, winning bid of $650 Wisconsin Aging & Grading Cheese, Kaukauna.

Chihuahua Cheese: Andy Rufener, Chula Vista Cheese/V & V Supremo, Browntown, winning bid of $400 Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Gouda: Gary Grossen, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, Madison, winning bid of $1300 Berenz Packing, Menomonee Falls.

Havarti: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $1000  Berenz Packing, Menomonee Falls.

Little Boy Blue: Team Hook, Hook’s Cheese Company, Mineral Point, winning bid of $480 Dairy Connection, Madison.

Feta in Brine: Steve Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $1000 Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Swiss & Almond Cold Pack: Team Pine River, Pine River Pre-Pack, Newton, Milwaukee, winning bid of $1800 Saputo Specialty Cheese.

Chili Pepper Muenster: John (Randy) Pitman, Mill Creek Cheese, Arena, winning bid of $750 Bunzel’s Meat Market, Milwaukee.

Reduced Fat Provolone, Team Clayton, Foremost Farms USA, Clayton, winning bid of $800 Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

Grand Champion Butter – Salted Butter: Dan Stolte, Foremost Farms USA, Reedsburg, winning bid of $550 Saz’s, Milwaukee.

Amish Style Hand-Rolled Butter: Roy Philippi, Graf Creamery, Bonduel, winning bid of $1050 Rock River Laboratory, Watertown.

Grand Champion Sour Cream – Reduced Fat Greek French Onion Dip: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $450 Wells Fargo, Milwaukee.

French Onion Dip: Westby Co-op Creamery Team, Westby Co-op Creamery, Westby, winning bid of $450 Nelson Jameson, Marshfield.

La Chona Crema Natural: Michael Godfrey, Mexican Cheese Producers, Darlington, winning bid of $200 Chr. Hansen, Milwaukee.

Grand Champion Yogurt – Rhubarb Swiss Yogurt: Yodelay Yogurt, Madison, winning bid of $500 Ivarson, Milwaukee.

Pomegranate Acai Yogurt: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $450 Ivarson, Milwaukee.

Greek Yogurt: Adam Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Co., Monroe, winning bid of $450 Ivarson, Milwaukee.

Plain Goat Milk Yogurt: George Roehrig/Team LaClare, LaClare Family Creamery, Malone, winning bid of $250 Novak’s Cheese, De Pere.

Raspberry Flavored Kefir: Nasonville Dairy, Marshfield, winning bid of $1250 Wells Fargo, Milwaukee.

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