Babcock Institute connects Honduran cheese artisans with Wisconsin mentors

The Babcock Institute is helping bring cheese artisans to Wisconsin and putting Wisconsin cheese makers on the road to participate in artisan-to-artisan mentoring. The successes of two such efforts were celebrated in Madison on Monday, August 3.

In the afternoon, CALS Dean Molly Jahn awarded certificates to Honduran dairy artisans who were the first participants in an internship bringing dairy artisans to Wisconsin to study with area cheese makers. That ceremony was followed by the first-ever reunion dinner of the Dairy Artisan Research Program, which provides local artisans opportunities to travel and study their craft.

The Honduran interns, Daniel Alexander Matute Berrios and Otho Francisco Tercero Maldonao, worked with cheese makers at Sassy Cow (Columbus) , Roelli (Shullsburg), and Cedar Grove (Plain), and with Ranee May at UW-River Falls gaining knowledge in procedures and techniques that may help them improve production in their home cheese plants. They also visited Joe Widmer and Widmer Cheese (Theresa), Anne Topham and Fantome Farm (Ridgeway), as well as the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant.

The Honduran internship was made possible through the support of the Babcock Institute, Jane and Dan Carter, the Dairy Business Innovation Center (DBIC), and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), as well as organizations within Honduras.

At the reunion dinner, past and future participants in the Dairy Artisan Research Program gathered to honor the program’s benefactors Jane and Dan Carter and to hear a report from Jon Metzig, a Wisconsin dairy artisan who recently returned from a trip that took him to Ireland, England, Switzerland and Germany. Also at the dinner were program coordinators Scott Rankin (UW-Madison Department of Food Science), Norm Monsen (DBIC & DATCP), Jeanne Carpenter (DBIC), and Karen Nielsen (Babcock Institute), and many program supporters.

The Dairy Artisan Research Program is a joint effort of the Babcock Institute, the UW-Madison food science department, the DBIC and DATCP.