Becca and I are in the Green Bay/Fox Valley area to interview an ambitious slate of seven master cheesemakers. Today we talked to half of Trega’s four masters Jim Demeter and Daniel Stearns and toured their massive feta and cheddar-making plants. If memory serves, Demeter presides over a daily production of 80,000 pounds of feta, while Sterns oversees the making of [drumroll] 250,000 pounds of cheddar. More on these guys (and the rest of this trip) once we’re back in Minneapolis on Thursday.
The short summary of the non-cheese related part of the trip: We visited an old-school diner called Kroll’s East … not to be confused with the dudded-up Lambeau Field-area Kroll’s West. There, I had what might have been one of the best malts of my life, a surprisingly multi-dimensional mix of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. The hamburgers we ordered were similarly excellent, served on hard rolls and slathered in ketchup, mustard, chopped onions and, uh, a pat of butter each. Ambiance? Thick as the stuff our burgers were covered in. You order by hitting a red button on the wall of your numbered booth, which, in turn, lights up a number on the wall, thereby summoning a waitress. You pay when your food arrives… and it eat off of the waxed paper it’s wrapped in.
Tomorrow: Terry Lensmire from Trega, and David Metzig from Union Star. Should be fun.