Carr Valley Cheese Company

September 21st, 2006

Sid outside the Lavalle plantName: Carr Valley Cheese, Inc.
Owner: Sid Cook
Location: LaValle, WI
Animals: Carr Valley gets cow milk from 40 farms (within 20 miles) each milking no more than 70 cows, sheep milk comes largely from one dairy that sells to CVC through the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Coop, and goat milk from a group of 8 farms in the Green Bay area.
Cheeses/Products: Are you ready? CVC makes over 65 different cheeses. Look at them all on the Carr Valley website. But essentially if you can think of a style of cheese, Sid has probably made it.
More info: www.carrvalleycheese.com

I am wondering if anyone else out there in cheeseland is wondering how Sid Cook’s Carr Valley Cheese pumps out over 65 varieties of cheese in what seems to be a sizable volume… I have been thinking about this for three years at least and could only imagine that he was like the Willy Wonka of cheese. Of course, the less optimistic part of my mind was wondering if it was going to feel like a big factory… my first instinct was definitely closer to what I actually saw.

We met Sid at the facility in Mauston, Wisconsin. Greg O’Neil, one of the owners of the Chicago retailer Pastoral was also in town and joined us on the Carr Valley Cheese tour. There are three cheese plants at Carr Valley, all relatively close together, each with a buzzing retail shop that sells all of the Carr Valley cheeses. The Mauston plant also had a viewing window where you can watch milk being transformed into cheese in any of the three large vats and also large areas for pressing, brining, waxing, storing and packing.

Gigantic brine tanks filled to the brim Preparation for pressing at the Mauston facility

Sid is a fourth generation cheesemaker. He drove us through the valley where he grew up- often called Irish Valley- and past the farm and home/cheese house where he was raised. Cheese might as well be in his blood. He described his relationship with cheese as a kid perfectly when he said, “you opened up the door on the side of the kitchen and there was the vat.” The first cheese plant that his father operated was in a valley called Carr Valley which is the name Sid still uses today. Sid worked with his father for years before taking over the business in the mid 70’s. He and his brother made Wisconsin-style cheddar in that plant for 10 years. Eventually in 1991 he purchased another cheesemaking facility with a layout that would allow for more flexibility and the development of more styles of cheese.

There are three “plants” in use today of which we visited two. The Mauston location is largely used for European style cheeses and a number of Sid’s American Originals. Whereas the LaValle plant is used largely for cheddar production. Sounds like a gigantic operation right? Let me break down my impression in the most basic terms: Carr Valley is bigger than many in the artisan cheese market. However, while handling a large amount of milk day in and day out the milk purchasing model looks much more like one you might find in Europe. The cow milk comes from approximately 40 dairies (all within a radius of 15-17 miles of the plant they supply) each milking no more than 70 cows. The sheep and goat milk that he buys are also from smaller farms that pool their milk together. Also Carr Valley didn’t build brand new facilities, rather they found plants that were closed or on their way out of business and modified the interior to meet their needs. Sid has been able to build up Carr Valley like this at least partly because of the years he has spent in the Wisconsin dairy industry, not to mention the generations of cheesemakers in his family that came before him. He understands milk quality inside and out and also has probably worked with more cultures than most people in the artisan cheese business. He also learned how to make his own cultures from his father and grandfather.

Sid distinguishes artisan production (volume of 100,000 lbs or less) from specialty cheese production (over 100,000 lbs but not at commodity level). He makes a number of cheese styles in both of those categories. His smallest productions on some of his artisan cheeses are around a few thousand pounds per year. Although Sid has the ability (read: volume and consistent product) to serve a wide range of customers, individuals to restaurants to specialty supermarket chains, he does a large part of his sales in his own retail stores. Currently he has 5 retail stores and in the two that we visited (they were connected to the plants), visitors flowed through steadily all day long.

Sid talks us through cheeses on his retail board in Mauston

Carr Valley employs 70 people total including retail sales people, cheesemakers, packaging and even the drivers of the milk trucks. Man of his employees have been with Sid for well over a decade and in some cases there are multiple generations of families working for CVC. Based on his years of experience and the exposure he has had to various cheesemakers and cheeses, Sid Cook is likely one of the most knowledgeable cheesemakers in the country. He has the kind of confidence that only comes with having lived something.

Cheddar pressing at the Lavalle location
While Sid remains fairly detached from perceptions others in the cheese industry have about Carr Valley Cheese, he is always game for a healthy competition (like ACS). Like Willi Lehner, Sid is not being arrogant when he tells me that it would be incredibly hard for someone to build a business like his, he is simply being realistic. He started in the game with a definite advantage and has been mindful to always stay in touch with his heritage. This is why he continues to produce the cheeses that the cheesemaking generations before him established in the state and around the country. Among the volumes of Carr Valley originals you will always find bandage-wrapped Mammoth Cheddar done in the traditional Wisconsin style- with pride.

Entry Filed under: Travel, Photos, Carr Valley

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Char Goodwin  |  October 1st, 2006 at 10:55 am

    WILL BE VISITING THE GREENBAY AREA OCT. 9-14TH AND WOULD LOVE TO VISIT ONE OF YOUR PLANTS. AS A CHILD WE WENT TO OCONTO FALLS FOR FAMILY VACATIONS WHERE MY DAD’S FAMILY CAME FROM. MY FAVORITE MEMORY WAS OF GETTING CHEESE CURDS AT THE FACTORY. PLEASE ADVISE WHERE WE MIGHT VISIT . THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  • 2. Marisa Cook  |  December 6th, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    My dads the best!

  • 3. Paul Ek  |  December 19th, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    I grew up in Oconto. County Line & Krause’s always had fresh curds. Unfortunately Carr Valley is on the I-94 route from Madison to Eau Claire (Mauston). The other two stores are northwest of Madison I believe.

    Yes Marisa, your dad is a god !!! You must be the name sake for the Marisa Cheese. Loved the Thistle Marisa !!! Your dad said he can no longer get the thistle. Bummer !!! Was very nice to finally get to meet him in Kohler last fall. Very nice man and one hell of a cheesemaker. Putting Wisconsin cheese back where it belongs. The hell with Vermont.

  • 4. Allen Walek  |  September 3rd, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Is the Mauston factory facility store open on Saturday?
    Need to pick up 5yr. old aged cheddar and some curds.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

April 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Most Recent Posts


  • difference between and
  • abuse weight loss
  • mesren v
  • free sample 24hr
  • memory issues
  • ibs dose
  • oftalmik damla
  • children dosage
  • tablets rxlist
  • when will be available over the counter
  • product monograph canada
  • chibro libido
  • during breastfeeding
  • can treat boils
  • causing itching
  • xr side effects
  • hydrocodone
  • para que se usa el medicamento
  • cause irritability
  • can you take sudafed and d
  • during 1st trimester
  • recall 2009
  • stomach acid
  • is a beta lactam
  • para que sirve la yahoo respuestas
  • can you just stop taking
  • cardioselective
  • antidepressant discontinuation syndrome
  • aurochem
  • d'8
  • pseudomonas sensitive
  • tmj pain
  • sr skutki uboczne
  • can you take together
  • and interaction
  • anxiety elderly
  • wart medication
  • do lower blood pressure
  • e minoxidil
  • efectos secundarios 75 mg
  • na alergie
  • border hours
  • lawsuits florida
  • a kwas foliowy
  • side effects in men
  • muscle aches withdrawal
  • otc drug
  • quick does work
  • buy generic online
  • e gestaAžA?o
  • rate credit on bge bill
  • can you take benadryl
  • lek
  • rite aid pharmacy
  • withdrawal symptoms insomnia
  • kidney pain
  • para que es el
  • spotting
  • poco sangrado despues de
  • sirop posologie
  • panadol
  • buy in us
  • can take tylenol pm
  • dean k
  • has my stopped working
  • and leg pain
  • can i take when i am pregnant
  • oral uses
  • food allergy
  • e mestruazioni
  • time to start working
  • oily discharge
  • buy online
  • liquid dosage
  • time to take effect
  • maximum dosage of daily
  • trop de
  • otc safe long term use
  • cream overdose
  • dosage instructions
  • causing depression
  • starting after a miscarriage
  • vs
  • injection
  • benadryl interactions
  • antabus interactions
  • odpowiedniki
  • renal failure
  • taking
  • happens if stop taking my
  • pregnancy side effects
  • is used to treat acne
  • kart
  • can i take while pregnant
  • 500 mg 50 tb
  • s\/a corretora de cA?mbio
  • rezeptfrei in deutschland
  • zoloft switch
  • can cause loss of appetite
  • lc service &
  • chest pain side effects
  • 800 mg
  • applying cream
  • can take while nursing
  • fever
  • safe for infants
  • 5395975069
  • does make yeast infection worse
  • can i take cold medicine while on
  • eating disorder
  • jak brac po mecie
  • high blood pressure side effects
  • vs
  • therapeutic action
  • need help paying
  • how long after taking are you contagious
  • antidepressant side effects
  • can my child take and together
  • dianabol
  • losing potency
  • ndc
  • novartis patient assistance program
  • will test positive for methamphetamine
  • sirve para bajar de peso
  • can you stop
  • 40 mg
  • preAžo do remedio 5mg
  • dosage chemotherapy
  • interaction
  • can take kidney infection
  • and liver enzymes
  • treat staph
  • provigil wellbutrin
  • side effects skin
  • should you take with food
  • chart
  • interaction between
  • compare tinactin
  • feet swelling
  • cures candida
  • in the news
  • treatment pid
  • and
  • missed dose
  • other uses
  • normal dosage uti
  • is safe for pregnancy
  • mg dosage
  • que es el
  • voucher
  • blood monitoring
  • hct recall
  • before urine test
  • using acne
  • eljo
  • mast
  • free trial
  • blood thinner
  • buy d uk
  • reactions
  • safe dose range
  • muscle pain
  • what does it look like
  • effects kidney function
  • 30 mg dosage
  • or
  • side effects nightmares
  • milligrams does come
  • used eating disorders
  • can you take together
  • do you need prescription uk
  • when was relief launched
  • 80 mg
  • iv compatibility
  • taper off
  • can mixed solution
  • 150 mg side effects
  • 5 mg lilly fta 28 st
  • what are the side effects of going off
  • annual sales
  • prescription only
  • average dose
  • type b flu
  • can kids take and together
  • why give at bedtime
  • 20 mg used for
  • cream recall
  • kadA▒nlar kulA?bA?
  • mega red krill oil
  • can u take advil
  • is gluten free
  • gastrin
  • healthy baby
  • vs
  • crema v para sirve
  • sepeda motor
  • late ovulation on bfp
  • can you crush cr
  • enablex
  • best skin care while on
  • follicles on day 12
  • yeast infection
  • expired pregnancy
  • ointment
  • if stops working
  • usage
  • 8 mg kaufen
  • hct missed dose
  • online
  • ingredients
  • edad se tomar
  • 8267343161
  • can you take with hct
  • can take advil together
  • guaifenesin d
  • allergy medication
  • pharmacological classification
  • for restless leg syndrome side effects
  • y maca
  • a spA?A?niony okres
  • alternatives
  • as a mood stabilizer
  • how long does it take for to work
  • tabletten wirkung
  • erectile dysfunction
  • used for anxiety
  • taking empty stomach
  • amazon
  • para verme
  • low progesterone while taking
  • reviews
  • for for cold sores
  • special offers
  • usage
  • 2224291683
  • xanax interactions
  • medication discounts
  • interactions drugs
  • 7323917684
  • i took 20mg of
  • side effects joints
  • 1 g iv
  • do you need prescription for in australia
  • 956230504
  • buy cheap uk
  • effects liver
  • pseudomonas resistance
  • unterschied
  • migraine treatment
  • generico farmacia italia
  • cost target
  • for men
  • age limit
  • invega conversion
  • eczema
  • cream while breastfeeding
  • e dimagrimento
  • is safe while breastfeeding
  • musicians
  • auckland
  • children's cvs
  • time to take effect
  • description
  • for a 12 year old
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome-treatment with
  • cheapest canada
  • class action lawsuit
  • 4 gel
  • oral contraceptives
  • c'est quoi le
  • 300 generic
  • low sperm count
  • and success stories
  • on drug testing
  • safer
  • for back pain
  • for osteopenia
  • safe during pregnancy
  • low dose weight loss
  • type drug
  • cr itching
  • user guide
  • for 2 yr old
  • does make you bigger than normal
  • and ritalin
  • l lysine
  • l-tryptophan und
  • flexeril vs
  • l effet secondaire
  • prostate drug
  • do you have to take daily
  • cream pregnancy
  • will reduce my milk supply
  • related sulfa drugs
  • valium
  • biglietti per italia a parma
  • sr bula
  • beaumont football club
  • side effects heart palpitations
  • natural supplement works like
  • can you take on an empty stomach
  • will help premature ejaculation
  • gynecomastia
  • drug class
  • with
  • alternative cvs
  • and peeling rash
  • banda
  • agitation anxiety
  • ambien drug interactions
  • y engordar
  • important safety information
  • can i get over the counter
  • high
  • coupon
  • zomig
  • a bangkok
  • sintomas despues aborto provocado
  • pictures of all pills
  • serotonin antagonist
  • same
  • get period after
  • prescription drug
  • a wymioty
  • n aerozol wziewny
  • vitamin d
  • health canada
  • cr 37.5mg
  • dresden il
  • r capsulas 300 mg
  • upper abdominal pain
  • can you take and benadryl together
  • used treat
  • anxiety
  • breastfeeding no period
  • xarope posologia
  • difference between levo sodium
  • tablets how to use
  • will interfere birth control
  • side effects blogs
  • price canada
  • famine maleate 50 mg
  • suspension
  • 24 hour
  • toxicity in children
  • que es la pastilla
  • for dilated cardiomyopathy
  • use
  • et cancer
  • ampolla embarazo
  • septic aerator
  • abuse potential
  • can a toddler take and tylenol together
  • indications
  • and together
  • hand tremors
  • 20 mg bula
  • can cause miscarriage
  • single dose gonorrhea
  • cheap 100mg
  • how much to cure chlamydia
  • purpose
  • y pastillas anticonceptivas
  • still available usa
  • xarope infarmed
  • taking and together
  • vs diamicron
  • i dojenje
  • dosage
  • can take z pack together
  • turisti x caso
  • is zoloft better than for anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • gives me gas
  • yeast infection one dose
  • canine colitis
  • or
  • for premature ejaculation
  • side effects hallucinations
  • free samples
  • acne
  • jarabe infantil
  • same time
  • allergic reaction side effects
  • used for depression
  • when will i ovulate taking days 5-9
  • plant locations
  • para que sirve
  • is out of date safe
  • does it get worse before it gets better
  • otc
  • will make you sleepy
  • pizzarium roma
  • 30 ct
  • dependent factors
  • what does it look like
  • is 150mg of a high dose
  • 2 stA?ck
  • buy overnight delivery
  • lose weight after