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Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Zoey Brooks

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Zoey Brooks

2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship
Apr. 18, 2015

Grilled cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Yes please! Today I had the honor of serving as a judge for the 4th Annual Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Championship held in Dodgeville- tough gig, right?

I judged three categories, totaling 35 grilled cheese sandwiches (each sandwich was quartered for a sample size, so I ended up eating more than 8 grilled cheese sandwiches throughout the day!) As I'm not an expert chef, I served as an amateur job in the Classic category (solely bread, cheese, and butter), the Young Chef category (age 12-17), and the Classic + Extras category (any and all ingredients).

The most important rule of the competition was that Wisconsin cheese must be used. With more than 600 different varieties, types, and styles of Wisconsin cheeses to choose from, these competitors got creative. I sampled everything from pound cake and chocolate cream cheese to a Limburger butter spread paired with extra sharp cheddar.

There's still time for you to celebrate Grilled Cheese Month in Wisconsin. Click here to explore the many different ways you can enjoy this Wisconsin classic!

Brown County Blitz
Apr. 17, 2015

I was among cheeseheads and cheese lovers this week in Green Bay and Brown County for a week long blitz with 4th graders. Together, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and myself visited with over 40 schools, totaling 40 classrooms and 2,200 students.

These students were proud to be from Packer Country and excitedly told me about how much they LOVE cheese. But they weren't exactly sure why we were called the cheeseheads here in Wisconsin until they learned that we produce more than 2.8 BILLION pounds of cheese every year (+ more than 600 different varieties, types, and styles!)

Mike Austin of WFRV-TV and WTAQ radio also joined me in Wrightstown to share the story of these classroom visits. Stay tuned for this great segment!

Phelps Maple Syrup Fest
Apr. 11, 2015

It was a sweet afternoon up in Phelps, WI at the 4th Annual Maple Syrup Fest! This event brings a number of Northwoods communities together to celebrate their local maple syrup producers and local craft artists.

I served as one of four judges in the maple syrup competition to determine the "Northwoods Maple Syrup of the Year". Thirty different sugar bushes entered their syrups into this year's competition. While my hands might have been shaking a bit from the sugar rush after sampling 30 syrups, it was interesting to detect the differences in taste among the entries. From buttery, to smoky, to earthy, each syrup had its own distinct flavor.

Phelps is home to many of Wisconsin's more than 3,000 maple syrup producers and this event was a great way to round out Maple Syrup Month, which ends April 15. With a few days left to celebrate, you can find a sugar bush near you at to stock up on maple syrup for the year!

Just One Month Away!
Apr. 09, 2015

We are just ONE, (yes one!), month away from selecting Wisconsin's 68th Alice in Dairyland. It's bittersweet to see the near end of my year as Alice, but I am overly excited for our 68th Alice to step into the opportunity of a lifetime.

The five Top Candidates will keep busy in this next month preparing for the various aspects of the Final Interviews. They will be critiqued on radio, television, and personal interviews, writing exercises, impromptu question answering, public speeches, and overall professionalism.

You can support these five highly-qualified women by purchasing tickets to the Final Interviews. Both the Impromptu Q&A Session and the Finale Banquet and Dinner are open to the public. Learn more and purchase tickets here. Hope to see you there!

Governor's Easter Egg Hunt
Apr. 04, 2015

The hunt was on this afternoon at the Governor's Annual Egg Hunt, hosted by Governor Scott Walker and first Lady Tonette Walker at the Executive Residence in Madison.

I teamed up with the Stoughton FFA Chapter to help kids (and parents!) learn about Wisconsin farm animals- including cows, chicks, ducklings, and rabbits. Attendees were able to learn how to milk a cow thanks to a demonstration milking cow cleverly named "Alice" and were also able to hold 2 day old chicks and ducklings for fun pictures.

The entire front yard of the Executive Residence was filled with Easter eggs for kids ages 1-6. It was a mad dash to fill their baskets with as many eggs as they could possibly find- it was a sight to see! Thank you to the Governor and First Lady for welcoming the community to their residence and for joining in on the Easter festivities!

Waupaca Rotary Visit
Apr. 01, 2015

I saw many familiar faces this morning as I ventured back to my hometown of Waupaca to speak to members of the Waupaca Rotary at their weekly breakfast meeting. While many of them knew my personal story and background, they all learned something new about the Alice in Dairyland position and the diversity of Wisconsin agriculture.

There was, however, a face in the crowd that was very familiar with the position of Alice in Dairyland, the 27th Alice, Joana (Markevicius) Smocke of Pine River, WI! Joana served as Alice in 1974 and we had a great time sharing and comparing stories from our years.

With over six decades of Alices in Wisconsin, you're guaranteed to meet one when you least expect it! Rule of thumb though from Joana- they aren't "old" Alices, just former Alices :)

Manitowoc County Blitz
Mar. 25, 2015

Today wrapped up my 3 day mini-blitz in Manitowoc County, where I visited 10 different elementary schools for a total of 525 students. Every class was very excited to tell me about "The Big Cow" in their county- the giant Guernsey in front of Cedar Crest Ice Cream. If you're ever passing through the area, it's definitely worth the stop!

This blitz was special in the fact that Manitowoc County will be hosting the Alice in Dairyland Finals in May. I encouraged students who wanted to learn more about Alice to attend the Question and Answer Session and the Final Banquet- both are open to the public!

Students were also excited to learn about not only Wisconsin agriculture, but agriculture right in their home county of Manitowoc. They were shocked to learn that their county is home to more cows than people!

#68Alice Briefing Day 2
Mar. 20, 2015

The much anticipated day has finally arrived! The Top Candidates for the position of Wisconsin's 68th Alice in Dairyland were announced to the public today at a press conference at Pine River Dairy in Manitowoc. Your 68th Alice in Dairyland Top Candidates are: Kristin Klossner, New Glarus; Teyanna Loether, Sauk City; Cassandra Mayer, Slinger; Stephanie Nagel, Valders; and Dormie Roberts, Burlington. You can learn more about each of these Candidates here.

Day 2 of the Briefing began at Shellie Kappelman's photography studio for the Candidates' official photos. We also traveled to Meadow Brook Farms, the Kappelman's family farm, to take a sequence of photos in their freestall barn- stay tuned for those great photos! We then traveled to Pine River Dairy for a tour of their butter plant prior to the press conference. This 6th generation family owned business specializes in wholesale butter and butter blends and also boasts over 250 varieties of cheese in their retail store.

The press conference then kicked off and officially announced the Candidates to the public. This was the first opportunity for the Candidates to speak to the media about their journey as a Top Candidate and to gain experience working with the media prior to the Final Interviews in May. In the few short weeks before now and May, these top candidates will keep busy preparing to be evaluated on their abilities to give radio, TV and personal interviews, complete writing exercises, and speak in public. Learn more about the Final Interviews and order your tickets here!

View Travel Journal Archive
- Apr 15 - Mar 15 - Feb 15 - Jan 15 - Dec 14 - Nov 14 - Oct 14 - Sep 14 - Aug 14 - Jul 14 - Jun 14 - May 14 -

Contact the Alice In Dairyland Program at:
2811 Agriculture Dr. PO Box 8911
Madison WI 53708-8911
Phone (608) 224-5115

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