Over the last few months our survey on artisan cheesemaking in America has further progressed to include several states. Among these states are Georgia and Wisconsin.
Each state’s survey includes four major sections. The first section is the number of cheese producers in the state, which is then broken down into producers using raw milk, pasteurized milk, or a combination of the two in their production. This section is followed by a specific regional breakdown of the producers’ geographical distribution within the state. The third portion of each survey is a dissection of the government and regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over dairy and cheese production in each of these states. The final piece is a measurement of the impact that each state’s dairy industries have on the local economies.
In Georgia, there are currently 11 cheese producers, 4 of whom use raw milk in their production, either in certain cheeses they produce or exclusively in all their production. Producers in Georgia primarily use cows milk however there are several creameries using goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. While dairy and cheese production in Georgia is on a smaller scale than some of the larger producer states, the industry is growing and shows great promise of making a mark on the artisan cheese industry in the United States.
In Wisconsin, cheese production is essential to the states economy, bringing in over $43 billion dollars in 2016, and is currently home to 116 cheese producers, 19 who use raw milk in some or all of their production. Wisconsin has annually broken their record for cheese production each year since 2002, with approximately 90% of milk produced in the state going to cheesemaking.
Stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing projects, your home state could be next!
Daniel McElligott, Oldways Cheese Coalition Research Consultant