I love a plush bus. I had no idea how nice it would be to travel by leather-lined coach, until I set foot in Wisconsin this week to join my first Cheese Media Tour. Thanks to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, I am riding across the Plains with about 20 bloggers and print journalists from across the country, eating cheese and meeting cheesemakers.
Here are a few highlights so far:
|Fresh mozzarella at Crave Brothers', a dairy powered by a "manure digester."|
|Here are the cow barns by night: 1,000 snoozing bovines. Those lights? That's the manure digester at work!|
|This is George Crave, who looks like Sting. In a way, he is a rock star.|
|George Crave's show cow shrine. His current "beauty" is on top.|
George and Debbie Crave treated us to a fabulous farmstead meal that included a beautiful cheese plate of their Petit Fere (a washed rind) and mascarpone -- which Debbie served with homemade cranberry sauce and ginger snaps.
I learned a few things about raising dairy cows. Each Holstein eats 100 lbs. of feed per day -- at Crave Brothers', they eat a combination of pasture grass, corn silage, alfalfa, and soybean meal. I also learned that George Crave realllly likes cows.
"If I weren't at this dinner, I'd be out in the barn, with my boots on, looking at the cows," he told me at dinner. When I asked what he meant, George told me he loves to look for show cows, which he enters into contests. Past contestants have included Glamor, Gracious, Linen, and, most recently, Asia.
"I like cheese," George said, "But I really like cows. At night, Debbie likes to read Bon Appetit, and I read Select Sires."
I couldn't have asked for a better evening.