About Upland's Cheese Company
Located near Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Uplands Cheese was started by two families: Mike and Carol Gingrich and Dan and Jeanne Patenaude. After years of farming separately as neighbors, in 1994 we bought this farm together in order to join our small herds and manage them in a seasonal, pasture-based system. Dan and Jeanne had been, in the early 1980s, among the earliest people in the United States to feed cows by rotational grazing. This was thanks in part to the work done by Jeanne's brother, Bill Murphy, then an agronomist at the University of Vermont, whose book Greener Pastures on Your Side of the Fence, is largely credited for helping introduce rotational grazing to American farmers.
The layout and location of our new farm (up on Pleasant Ridge in the Uplands region of Wisconsin) are ideal for growing the diverse range of grasses, legumes and herbs that give us such high quality milk. It soon became clear that the milk our cows were producing on this new farm had exceptional flavors, and it seemed a shame to see it pooled together with milk from other farms at the local cheese factory. We began looking for a way to take advantage of these flavors, and looked to other regions in the world where cheese is produced seasonally from grass-fed cows.
Our search led us to the hard, aged cheeses of the Alpine regions of France and Switzerland, where for hundreds of years cows have spent their summers grazing in mountain pastures. In order to preserve that milk, cheese makers followed the cows up into the mountains and made cheeses that were hard, aged and durable enough to make the trip back down to the valleys.
Southern Wisconsin has a deep reservoir of cheese making knowledge, much of which has been passed down from the alpine cheese makers who have emigrated here over the past two hundred years. In 2000, we began working with local cheese makers and with the cheese scientists at the nearby Center for Dairy Research, and eventually settled on our own version of these ancient, alpine recipes. By using only grass-fed, raw milk, our Pleasant Ridge Reserve recipe follows the tradition of the Alpage versions of Beaufort and Gruyere, but we have tailored it to our own, unique milk supply.