It's official: Minnesota State Fair's Cheese Curds are from . . . Wisconsin! Be sure to watch the video.
My contribution to the gathering for Project McNamara on July 5 was a couple of these one-pound packages, fresh from the factory. It's a 50-mile drive round-trip but well worth it to say they are "direct from the factory." And it's pretty amazing that they have found a way to keep that creamery hopping over all these years, although the land throughout the area is more suited for dairy than crops, given the hills and woods throughout.
Makes for an enticing motorcycle ride for some, and a place of employment for many others including a "spokesperson" for the creamery, something pretty far-fetched for the creameries supported by 200-acre dairy farms, such as they were in our era. The Farm Boy's wife Shirley could tell you even more about that part of the world.
I couldn't recall that we ever sold milk to the creamery in Northwood, and discovered why we had not when I found this report on the creamery online. Apparently it had discontinued operation in 1951and to be honest I don't even know where this building is located.
Family connections meant the creamery at Deer Creek Valley was more familiar. My dad worked here for a time after he and mom were married, and it was about a mile or less from this creamery to the farm of my grandfather's. Since he milked a few cows (by hand up into his 70s) and had milk to sell, this is where it went. I went there often enough as a youngster to remember the smell, which was pretty much that of spilt milk a few days later. At Ellsworth you don't notice that.
Perhaps they made cheese curds at Deer Creek, I don't know. I do remember whey, a by-product of the processing, consumed by pigs and probably a few cats, and more importantly, I remember the Deer Creek Store located just across the street. It was worth behaving yourself to have a chance to go along to the creamery, because that improved your chances of a candy purchase across the street.
A sign is posted at the store location now and that's all that's left unless you poke around the premises and find the original foundation that remains in some places. The sign says the store was built in 1895 by Mr. Blecksrud, and in addition to the groceries up front, the rear of the store was once a tin shop/hardware store, and a community hall was upstairs.
Now there's nothing left on this plot along the state line but memories and the remnants of the cheese factory, shown here when my brother Kevin and I were on tour a year ago. Only progressive factories with their own spokesperson can make the grade anymore.
|Kevin snooping around the remnants of the Deer Creek Valley Creamery|