Murray's Dairy & Ref.

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by Teyanna Loether

Alice in Dairyland Travel Journal by
Teyanna Loether

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

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Recipes from Alice: Sweet Corn Salad
Jul. 31, 2015

This recipe is inspired by a very popular Mexican street food called elote. Did you know that Wisconsin exported $332 million of agricultural goods to Mexico in 2014? One of the top products we export to Mexico is cheese. This side dish incorporates queso fresco, a cheese that is easy to melt and settles into the perfect consistency with the star of this dish: fresh Wisconsin sweet corn. Sweet corn season is in full swing, and with National Farmers Market Week approaching us August 2nd-8th this recipe is the perfect excuse to visit a local market near you to find locally produced sweet corn.

This salad is simply addicting and combines the flavor sensations of sweet, spicy, sour and savory. I make this dish to pair with enchiladas, for atop taco salad or even alongside a burger fresh off the grill. Enjoy!

4 large fresh cobs of locally produced Wisconsin Sweet Corn
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp fat-free sour cream
1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (from half a lime)
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
2 tbsp scallions, minced
1/2 cup queso fesco cheese, grated
5 lime wedges for serving

Boil corn in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, cut corn off the cobb.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, chili powder, and lime juice; mix well. Add the still-warm corn, cilantro, scallions and queso fresco. Toss until the cheese is melted and ingredients are evenly combined. Serve with lime wedges.

It's What's for Dinner
Jul. 29, 2015

There are so many things to celebrate in Wisconsin during July-- this month is also Beef Month! To celebrate this sector of our agriculture, the timing was perfect to take a tour of a local meat processing facility. Our state has a rich history in meat processing, packing, and sausage-making due in large part to the heritage of early settlers. Even our beloved football team, the Green Bay Packers, were originally named after the strong meat packing industry that existed in the city. Wisconsin is now home to 280 meat processing plants, many of which are small, family-owned businesses.

Weber Meats, located in Cuba City, is a prime example of why Wisconsin should be very proud of this legacy. Dan Weber is the fourth generation of their family meat processing business. His family saw a need for specializing in meats after owning a grocery store many years ago, and they have built quite the reputation throughout the Midwest since. Dan's father always said to "build your business on a good ground chuck", a staple of any local meat market. Around this platform they built a reputation for delectable hams, and recently their all-beef sausage has become a most popular item. Weber Meats will customize any order of hogs or beef, but they also have a fresh display case full of options for dinner such as the Ham for Two or a bacon wrapped pork tenderloin roast.

It's evident that the Weber family puts passion into quality, consistent meat products that keep customers coming back through the door. Dan Weber also had a location in Geneseo, Illinois for some time, and his former customers still make the four hour drive to Wisconsin to purchase meats!

Visiting your local meat market is unique in that you can speak directly to the processor for cooking and preparation tips. Your local meat market is a great way to support family meat processing businesses, as well as the local farmers who take great pride in raising their livestock. Check out for recipes, nutritional information, and cooking tips from the Wisconsin Beef Council!

Holland's Family Cheese Open House
Jul. 26, 2015

Over the weekend I had a very 'gouda' time celebrating in Thorp at Holland's Family Cheese Open House! It was a beautiful day to visit and tour the farm and cheese facility that is home to the famous Marieke Gouda.

Rolf and Marieke Penterman were born and raised in the Netherlands, and searched the world for the best place to grow their dairy roots. They told me Wisconsin was the obvious choice because of the vast dairy knowledge and infrastructure, as well as the beautiful, spacious landscape. The Penterman family farm cares for 350 dairy cows who happily live just 100 yards or so from the cheese plant where Marieke makes her Gouda. Each day the 5am milking travels from the parlor through an underground pipe where it lands directly into the cheese vat. Five hours later, the process of making the famous Grand Champion of the 2013 U.S. Cheese Championship, Marieke Gouda, has begun. From the beginning of exceptional care for their cows to the delicious ending of the creamy, smooth Gouda, the passion that Rolf and Marieke have for dairy is vividly apparent.

Their farm is uniquely designed to offer many educational opportunities for the public, with viewing windows into the milking parlor as well as the cheesemaking and aging rooms in the processing facility. You can book a tour, order cheese, and learn more about their story at!

A Very Special Sundae
Jul. 24, 2015

It's every ice cream lover's dream to have a special sundae made with favorite flavors and toppings. That dream came true for me in Dodge County on Wednesday!

While touring local agribusinesses in Dodge County with 4-H members, we made a stop at Confections for Any Occasion by Joel in Theresa. Joel began making chocolate when he discovered his passion for cooking in 4-H and now makes some of the most delectable sweets and treats in town. He explained to us that chocolate making is very closely tied to agriculture, as the cocoa pods that contain beans are harvested from trees in tropical locations and an integral part of the local agriculture there. It takes approximately ten pods of cocoa beans to make one pound of chocolate!

I'll be visiting Dodge County frequently this year, as they are the hosts of the 69th Alice in Dairyland final interviews. Joel made something extra special to help celebrate and promote the final interviews throughout the coming months: an official Alice in Dairyland sundae, which debuted during our tour! It's vanilla ice cream topped with oreos, hot fudge, whipped cream, and a chocolate cow that has been handcrafted by Joel at Confections for Any Occasion. Trust me, it's just as yummy as it looks. Be sure to stop for one in Dodge County in the months leading up to the final interviews!

Happy Aquaculture Day!
Jul. 23, 2015

On April 26, 2010, the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly passed a joint resolution declaring the 3rd Saturday in July as Aquaculture Day. The purpose of this day is to celebrate fish farming in Wisconsin, and recognize this sector as an important part of agriculture that sustainably provides us with local, fresh food.

Wisconsin’s private aquaculture dates back to 1856 with a sound environmental history using sustainable best management practices. Wisconsin fish farmers take pride in the fact that all of the fish they raise are certified healthy by a veterinarian and are very conscious of water use and quality. Our state is now home to more than 2,300 fish farms that provide fish for bait, pond stocking, and recreation.

To celebrate Aquaculture Day, I visited Silver Moon Springs trout farm in Elton. Their fish farm is a third generation family business, and was purchased by Tim Winkel's father in 1978. Interestingly, the farm was originally a mink ranch-- they raised fish on the side as a high protein source for their mink. Nowadays their focus is solely on aquaculture, and 95% of their business is stocking beautiful, healthy trout in private ponds. The most prevalent farm-raised fish in Wisconsin is trout due to their cold-water preferences, and Silver Moon Springs raises brook, brown, rainbow, and golden trout. Another aspect of aquaculture that the Winkels are involved in is fee fishing, where families and visitors can come right to their fish farm to catch any type of trout available. They'll even clean the fish you catch so they're ready to eat for supper that night!

To learn more about Wisconsin aquaculture, visit, and be sure to find a fish farm near you to learn more about this fascinating piece of Wisconsin agriculture!

Fun Fair Days
Jul. 19, 2015

County Fair season is upon us and in full swing! In just a short time I've visited three fairs: the Lodi Agricultural Fair, Sauk County Fair, and Fond du Lac Fair.

Attending the 2015 Lodi Agricultural Fair was a special event this year, as it was their 150th anniversary. The Lodi Ag Fair is unique in that all entries are open to the public, not just 4-H and FFA members, and it's a free fair! Not only were we celebrating the past that evening, but the future of the Lodi Ag Fair as well. To celebrate their 150th year, they had a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome two brand new pole barns to the grounds which they will use for years to come. We also honored a few very special fair board members, some of which have given 40 or 50 years of volunteer service!

The Sauk County Fair was extra special for me to visit, as it is my home fair. I showed horses, swine, and poultry through FFA and 4-H growing up there. It was great to see how the younger members I knew back then are growing the future of agriculture as leaders today. Each year their Meat Animal Sale draws in local businesses and buyers to help support exhibitors and their projects. Each dollar they put towards a bid goes right back to the exhibitor, and many use it for college funds or starting next year's project.

The Fond du Lac Fair made it clear why Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for the export of bovine genetics, as I attended the Agromatic Holstein Futurity there. Two beautiful classes of Holsteins, a two year old and five year old group, were showcased that evening. With 21 incredible Holsteins entered in the two year old class, the judge had a very tough decision to make!

Stay tuned for more fun filled fair adventures... especially the Wisconsin State Fair, coming up August 6th-16th!

Recipes from Alice: Perfect Pancakes
Jul. 17, 2015

One of my favorite versions of breakfast growing up was my Grandma Marx’s pancakes. They always had the perfect consistency—light and fluffy, but they’d stick to your ribs and give you enough energy on the farm until dinnertime. Sometimes, if we were really well behaved, she’d put apples in the pancakes!

Pure Wisconsin maple syrup drizzled over top make these the perfect pancakes. Wisconsin has a rich history in maple syrup production and is home to approximately 3,000 sugar bushes. We rank fourth in the nation for maple syrup, only behind Vermont, New York, and Maine. The most recent season yielded 215,000 gallons, making it the second highest yield on record. It typically takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup!

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
A handful of diced or shredded apples, if desired
Top with your favorite locally produced butter and Wisconsin Maple Syrup

•Combine the milk and vinegar to sour the milk, let sit for 5 minutes.
•Mix together the dry ingredients.
•Whisk the egg and melted butter into milk, slowly pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until all lumps are gone. Gently fold in apples if desired.
•Heat a skillet to medium-low and melt a small amount of butter. Pour 1/4 cup of the pancake mix into skillet. Flip once small bubbles rise to the top an inch or so from the edge of the pancake.
•Tip: do not stir the batter once it is whisked and lumps are gone. The air bubbles that form while resting help make the pancakes light and fluffy!

Inside the Honeybee Hive
Jul. 13, 2015

While our Wisconsin honeybees provide us with a sweet summertime treat, what I think is fascinating is the level of coordination within the hive! During a few of my radio interviews for my Sweets & Treats campaign, I've had the chance to share the scoop on honeybee hierarchies with listeners. Follow me, I'll give you an inside tour!

While most people envisions honeybees buzzing about in many directions, each bee has a specific job to do. Inside the hive an intricate social structure exists, consisting of three classifications of bees—a queen, workers, and drones. A healthy colony population will peak in mid-summertime and results in 60,000-80,000 bees per colony. However, there is usually only a single queen bee in a hive. The queen's job is simple: laying eggs that will create the hive's next generation of bees. A prolific queen can lay up to 3,000 eggs per day. If the queen disappears, workers will create a new queen by feeding a larvae that is under three days old special diet of royal jelly. This elixir enables the larvae to develop into a fertile queen.

Workers are the only bees that most people ever see out of the hive and hard at work. These bees are infertile females and perform many societal roles. These bees forage for nectar, nurse growing bees, and build, clean, and guard the hive. Worker bees beat their wings while in the hive to evaporate water from the honeycombs, capping it with wax when it reaches the proper moisture content. On average, a worker bee in the summer lives six to eight weeks, until they wear their wings out. In that short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of one and a half times the circumference of the earth. They communicate the location of pollen sources to their fellow workers through a dance. Check out how they choreograph their sentences here!

The third class of honeybee are male bees called drones, and their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. Several hundred drones live in each hive during the spring and summer, which are fed by the worker bees. Only 1 in 1,000 drones have the opportunity to mate with the queen, but the successful drones perish in the act of mating. Remaining drones are driven out by the worker bees before the winter months and eventually die from starvation. To re-populate the hive again the next year, the queen lays unfertilized eggs that become drones and the cycle begins again.

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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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