Tuesday, September 1

Roadschool Trip to Wisconsin

When you're roadschooling, sometimes you end up in quiet places off the beaten path....these are blessed opportunities for exploration.  This 'uneventful' day ended up with fresh cheese...yum!

Just across the highway from our hotel in Thorp, Wisconsin, lies Holland's Family Cheese, a cheese factory that makes gouda cheese.   After being in the car for so long, we wanted to stick close to the hotel and do a lot of walking today!  We hopped over there and hit the afternoon cheese-making tour.  *The big cheese wheel he's holding above weighs forty pounds!!!
We started in the milking area, of course.  We had a chance to learn about traditional versus modern techniques, and to see how the machines worked.  We watched the milk flow from cow, through the pipes, all the way to the first processing room. 

The factory milks 350 cows, three times each day.  Can you imagine trying to do that the old-fashioned way?  The boys weren't thinking it was a good idea...
After leaving the milking area, we donned cute little booties and headed down to the barns, to meet our new bovine friends.  First stop?  This little yet-to-be-named guy that was born overnight.  He still had his sea legs, and was having trouble coming to the gate.  So adorable!
Row after row of cattle greeted us.  Some were friendly, a few were neurotic...just like humans, each cow had her own personality.  (I say 'her' because the factory only keeps the females.  Calves are sent to a separate facility, and bulls are sent to another one.)  We enjoyed reading the names off of their ear tags....Doris, Vera, and Stella were particularly friendly!
Exiting the barns, we cleaned up a bit and headed into the processing area.  Here, we learned about the beginning stages of making cheese.  We saw them brining the cheese, and watched as they hand-painted the yellow coating onto each wheel. 

Since the facility uses raw milk, it must cure for at least sixty days before they can sell it.  They have several different varieties to choose from, but each one is not always available due to the curing schedule.  As the final stop on our tour, we sampled twenty different varieties of gouda.  Our food connoisseur liked this part of the visit best!

Cheese-Making resources for children :
Cheese-Making resources for adults :

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