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The beautiful clean grasses of Otter Creek's organic fields are the pastures where 180 farmstead Holsteins graze, and the milk these cows produce is used to make seasonal cheddars. These cheddars taste like the seasons—they are made locally with pride by the Master Cheesemaker at prize-winning Cedar Grove Cheese
Wisconsin is famous for cheddar. Cheddar is a great cheese to make with the milk from farmstead rotationally grazed cows, and it ages beautifully when it is well made.
“Raw” (unpasteurized) milk enhances the flavors from the pasture and ensures a rich, complex taste. And this cheese ages so well that you can age it yourself.
Each season's cheddar has a unique flavor and fat content—they are all very different.
In the spring, the herd is grazed on pastures of clover, rye and young grasses; in Summer, the pasture is full of orchard grass, young corn, and sorghum. Fall brings mature rye, alfalfa, and clover. In Winter, the pasture is full of snow, so the herd eats sileage and bailage, made of fermented alfalfa and grasses cut from the farm's pastures.
It's not just the feed—the milk changes in fat content and hormones based on the season: lower fat in the warmer months, and higher fat in colder months.
Cedar Grove Cheese makes the Cheddars for Otter Creek. Bob Wills is a certified master cheesemaker and has a strong reputation as a highest quality cheesemaker.
Cedar Grove has won environmental awards (in addition to awards for its cheeses) for its commitment to innovative waste management at their Plain, Wisconsin cheese facility. They are also close to the farm, and have supported the southwestern Wisconsin sustainable agriculture industry for years. We very much appreciate Bob and his staff for their support and encouragement in making our private label cheese. Thank you, Bob!
Pesto Cheddar is made with basil-infused olive oil from local artisan producer Renaissance Farms. Mark Olson, the owner and chef, focuses his efforts on basil products (he personally grows the basil), and has won awards for his basil-infused olive oil and other products.
As an experiment, his oil was combined with the cheddar, and the result has been splendid. The basil oil surrounds the curds in the final step in the cheesemaking process, delineating large curds with a dark green marbling. It's beautiful, and the smooth cheddar combined with the fresh basil oil is delicious.