Want to make artisan cheese in Wisconsin? Here’s your chance.

For the second year in a row, Wisconsin Cheese Originals is offering a $2,500 scholarship to help one aspiring cheesemaker earn his or her Wisconsin Cheesemaker’s License and make farmstead, artisan or specialty cheeses.

Applicants must be a Wisconsin resident and be willing to undergo the rigorous pursuit that obtaining a Wisconsin Cheesemaker License requires. (The process can easily take 18 months or more, requires the attendance at five university courses, as well as 240 hours of apprenticeship with an existing Wisconsin cheesemaker).

Whew. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

The scholarship money may be used for course tuition fees, room & board, or associated costs with obtaining a Wisconsin Cheesemaker License. The application is due to Wisconsin Cheese Originals before 5 p.m. on March 7, with the recipient chosen by a review committee and notified by April 1. More information and scholarship applications may be downloaded here.

Last year’s Wisconsin Cheese Originals scholarship recipient, Katie Hedrich (pictured above), is currently working with her family to produce farmstead goat cheeses. Read about her family’s journey and the difference the scholarship made in her life in this recent Wisconsin State Farmer article.

Katie is also one of 12 different Wisconsin cheesemakers pictured on sets of note cards also offered by Wisconsin Cheese Originals. Featuring photography by Becca Dilley, boxed note card gift sets are available in sets of 6, with matching envelopes and a gold tie. Themes include:

  •  Farmstead Cheesemakers – featuring the likes of Andy Hatch (Uplands Cheese), Jerry Heimerl (Saxon Homestead Creamery) & Brenda Jensen (Hidden Springs Creamery) 
  • Rise of the Woman Cheesemaker – includes Katie Hedrich (Scholarship winner) Diana Murphy (Dreamfarm) & Brenda Jensen 
  • Master Cheesemakers – featuring Joe Widmer (Widmer’s Cheese Cellars), Bruce Workman (Edelweiss Creamery) & Sid Cook (Carr Valley Cheese).
  • Cave-Aging Masters – includes Willi Lehner (Bleu Mont Dairy), Chris Roelli (Roelli Cheese) & Gianni Toffolon (BelGioioso Cheese)
  • On-the Farm with Cows, Sheep & Baby Goats – picturing Jerry Heimerl (with the cows at Saxon Homestead Farm), Katie Hedrich (with a baby goat at her family’s LaClare Farm) & Brenda Jensen (taking care of her ladies (ewes) at Hidden Springs Creamery).
  • Kings of Stinky Cheese – includes Myron Olson (with his Limburger at Chalet Cheese), Joe Widmer (with his Brick) & Willi Lehner (creator of the one and only Earth Schmear)

Notecards include written cheesemaker profiles on the back and are blank inside. Each set of six cards & envelopes sells for $5.95. Check them out here. Makes a great gift! (along with a box of Wisconsin cheese, of course).

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